After a 14-year tenure with top Paris fashion house, Alber Elbaz, the Israeli designer who transformed them into a truly global luxury label with his feminine and spirited designs, has been ousted. In a statement, Elbaz characterized his departure as a result of “the decision of the company’s majority shareholder” without naming Shaw-Lan Wang. He also revealed hints at the reasons for his breach with Wang, holding out hope that the company “finds the business vision it needs to engage in the right way forward.” Lanvin released a statement thanking him for “the chapter he has written” and confirmed “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.”
Sources say his departure comes following disagreements between the designer and Wang and Chief Executive Officer Michèle Huiban. Many employees were reported to be in tears when informed of his departure and were rallying between their creative leader.
This news comes shortly after Raf Simons announced his departure from Christian Dior after three and a half years, prompting discussions about the pressures and restraints placed onto today’s creative directors in such a fast growing, evolving industry. Elbaz’s departure is also fueling rumours that he may take over from Simons at Dior, or potentially instigate a shuffle amongst the highest levels of international fashion. Dior has yet to name a successor and no talks between the couture house and Elbaz have been reported.
Unlike many of its competitors, the fashion house, which crossed its 125th anniversary last year, is reliant on its wholesale partners, which account for approximately 70% of revenues, with only about 3030% of sales streaming in from direct retail.
Management has not yet chosen Elbaz’s successor and will need to find a designer who can reinvigorate a house built around his vision and ebullient personality. Potentially names on their shortlist could include Olivier Rousteing, Simone Rocha, Huishan Zhang, Joseph Altuzarra and Lucas Ossendrijver, who Elbaz chose himself to rejuvenate Lanvin Homme in 2005.