Alber Elbaz, the designer, who revived Lanvin when he took the helm in 2001, has been forced to leave the brand after an incredible 14 years with the fashion house according to WWD.
Speaking of the departure in a statement, Elbaz didn't name the person responsible for the decision but made it quite clear when he stated the decision was made by the 'company's majority shareholder.'
The person Elbaz was referring to was Shaw-Lan Wang, a Taiwanese publishing mogul who brought Elbaz into the Lanvin fold. In a statement issued by Lanvin, they said : (We)
“Would like to thank him for the chapter he has written in the House’s over 125 year history. The House of LANVIN confirms the implementation of its corporate strategic plan to continue making the oldest of the Parisian fashion houses, the Ambassador of French luxury’s excellence, in the independent spirit of its founder Jeanne Lanvin."
According to close sources, the departure has come after conflicts with Elbaz and Wang and CEO Michèle Huiban. His exit has come as a shock to Elbaz's design team who weren't given special notification of his departure but instead told during a general meeting and were told they had to finish the pre-fall collection without Elbaz. Many of the team were said to be in shock and said to have been in tears at the news, demanding an explanation and information on how the fashion house would be moving forward.
The news broke last Wednesday, and Elbaz was out of his office on the previous Tuesday night. In his statement following the news, Elbaz said:
"At this time of my departure from Lanvin on the decision of the company's majority shareholder, I wish to express my gratitude and warm thoughts to all those who have worked with me passionately on the revival of Lanvin over the last 14 years; express my affection to all my wonderful colleagues in the Lanvin ateliers who accompanies me, and who enriched and supported my work. Together we have met the creative challenge presented by Lanvin and have restored its radiance and have returned it to its rightful position among France's absolute luxury fashion houses.
"I also wish to express my profound and deepest gratitude to all of the clients and friends, to the French and international press and to all those business partners who collaborated with Lanvin, providing us with support since 2001."
"I wish the house of Lanvin the future it deserves among the best French luxury brands, and hope that it finds the business vision it needs to engage in the right way forward."
Although never directly acknowledging the friction between the company heads and Elbaz, by stating "hope(s) that it finds the business vision it needs to engage in the right way forward." indicates some serious conflict in their creative vision.
Although when Elbaz first joined the company profits went up, sales have been dwindling, with the company even expecting to post a loss for the first time in nearly 10 years.
Lanvin have yet to comment on who will take over from Elbaz. However everyone is already speculating what Elba's next move will be, with rumors already rife that he will move on to Dior to replace Raf Simons who exited Dior last week. Watch this space!