Alber Elbaz, the creative director of Lanvin, will be exiting the house after a 14-year tenure, the Paris-based design house has confirmed. Per WWD, “While the parties are likely to characterize the development as by mutual agreement, sources said the rupture came following disagreements between the charismatic Israeli designer and company principals: owner Shaw-Lan Wang and chief executive officer Michèle Huiban.” (Wang bought Lanvin from L’Oréal in 2001, recruited Elbaz and gave him free reign to reinvent the brand with his cocktail dresses, ornate costume jewelry, footwear, and modernist menswear, the latter of which is designed in connection with the house's Lucas Ossendrijver.)
Moreover, “It is understood members of his design team were informed of his exit this morning, and all employees at Lanvin were summoned to a meeting this afternoon in Paris.” The impending annoucemwnt comes just a week after Raf Simons announced his departure from Christian Dior after just three and a half years.
Known for his couture-like womenswear and amiable personality, Elbaz began his career at Geoffrey Beene in New York before moving to Guy Laroche in Paris in the mid-1990's. Thereafter, he rose to fame as Yves Saint Laurent (the celebrated couturier)'s successor at the helm of Rive Gauche ready-to-wear. More recently, Elbaz is believed to have held discussions with Dior when it was seeking to replace John Galliano following his 2011 ouster following his anti-Semitic outbursts a Paris café. Talks never came into fruition, however.
WWD elaborated, noting that the battle will be uphill for Lanvin once Elbaz departs: "It is understood management has not yet selected a successor to Elbaz, and will face the task of finding a designer who can re-galvanize a house built around his vision and ebullient personality." Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, will likely struggle significantly less now in finding a successor for Raf Simons at Christian Dior, though. Stay tuned …