The French fashion house Lanvin has announced the departure of its artistic director, Olivier Lapidus, after only eight months in the role. The news comes as the brand confirmed several major changes to its senior management following its sale to Chinese conglomerate Fosun in February. Lapidus was appointed by its former owner, Shaw-Lan Wang, and many speculated that the designer would be one of the first casualties of the new regime.
Lapidus succeeded French designer Bouchra Jarrar in the role in July after she had also only shown two collections for the house. Prior to their tenure, Alber Elbaz was at the helm for 14 years, until he left in 2015. Elbaz, a celebrated designer whose designs and gregarious personality made Lanvin a highlight of the Paris fashion week schedule, said that his departure from the company was “the decision of the company’s majority shareholder”, referring to Wang, a figure with whom he was said not to have seen eye to eye. Since Elbaz vacated the role, the 129-year-old brand has struggled to achieve the commercial and critical acclaim that it enjoyed during his reign.
Lapidus’s debut collection in September and follow-up outing in February were met with a mixed response from buyers and critics alike. “High-waisted trousers in cobalt blue, burnt-orange ribbed knits under tailored blazers and soft black leather skirts worked nicely for daytime,” wrote Jess Cartner-Morley last month. “But evening wear, caught between gaudy ombre sunset satin and stiffly formal ballgown shapes, failed to capture the insouciant magic of Elbaz’s era of partywear.”
Other appointments announced include Nicolas Druz, former general manager of Lanvin since 2017, who has been made managing director of the Fosun fashion group. Joann Cheng, current president of Fosun fashion group and chair of the board of directors of Lanvin, has been made interim CEO. “Olivier steered the Maison through a transitional period between ownerships. We thank him for that, and wish him every success for his own brand and future endeavours,” said Cheng via a statement which confirmed that the in-house design team will be responsible for the womenswear collections until Lapidus’s replacement is announced.
“Lanvin is a truly iconic and storied brand with immense potential. By being a part of the Fosun fashion group, Lanvin’s future growth can leverage resources from the expansive global platform of Fosun’s established companies and experts,” Cheng continued. “We sincerely thank Mr Druz and Mr Lapidus for their contributions to Lanvin’s glorious heritage. In seeking candidates for the permanent positions of CEO and artistic director, we want to ensure we find people who share the spirit of Lanvin. The re-launch of Lanvin with fresh talents, while adhering to the values that the brand has maintained since 1889, is fundamental to returning the Maison to its rightful position at the top table of the world’s most lauded and innovative fashion houses,” she added.
Lapidus, son of the famed French designer Edmond “Ted” Lapidus, will return to his own “e-couture” label, Creation Olivier Lapidus, which he maintained simultaneously to his Lanvin role.
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