Bouchra Jarrar Is Your New Lanvin Designer

Courtesy Image via WWD

As has been widely rumored, Paris based designer Bouchra Jarrar (pictured at right) has been named artistic director of women’s collections at Lanvin starting this Monday. Jarrar replaces Alber Elbaz whose departure last year stunned fans and customers and left his design staff not only heartbroken, but litigious, taking the storied house and its owner to court to protest the designers ouster. The first collection without Elbaz, shown last week, elicited scathing reviews, indicating that leaving the design direction to Elbaz's remaining staff was not a viable 'place holder' option for even one more season as has been done at houses like Dior which is currently between creative directors. For her part, Jarrar is a well-liked choice who seems qualified to help push Lanvin beyond the controversy of Elbaz's departure and reassure nervous retailers who have invested in the label and built loyal customer followings. After stints at Jean-Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga under both Josephus Thimister and Nicolas Ghesquiere, Jean-Louis Scherrer and Christian Lacroix, Jarrar started her own house in 2010 and has shown both ready-to-wear and haute couture collections as an official member of the Chamber Syndicale de la Haute Couture. It has not been confirmed that she will continue on with her own label as she concurrently designs for Lanvin, however she is reported to have taken on minority investment for it as recently as last year. Her own company is relatively small compared to Lanvin, however, and she will presumably have to contend with the same challenges that faced Elbaz and led to the conflict that ended in his dismissal, namely the lack of company owned stores to even out the brand's balance between wholesale and retail as well as the widely reported lack of funding that has hindered Lanvin's ability to compete with bigger labels in the most profitable handbag and accessory categories. She will, however, be able to restore some good will for the brand and confidence that it will not fall back into the obscurity from whence it emerged when Elbaz became its creative director. “Joining Lanvin satisfies my desire to create and express myself in a space of larger expression,” she says as part of today's announcement, and all eyes will be on her when she shows her first collection this fall for Spring 2017.


Lanvin Confirms Bouchra Jarrar as New Women’s Designer (WWD)


Lanvin Employees In Turmoil Following Alber Elbaz Dismissal

Alber Elbaz takes his final bow at Lanvin's Spring/Summer 2016 runway show in a still from the video on Lanvin's website

While the luxury industry's collective head is still spinning from the unexpected turn of events at some of the most prominent labels in Paris, it looks like the story of Alber Elbaz at Lanvin might not be completely over. WWD is reporting that the house's 330 employees are devastated that the beloved designer has been pushed out and are using whatever resources available to them to protest. The company's works council, an employee board that that French companies apparently have, is demanding that Taiwan-based Lanvin owner Shawn-Lan Wang return to Paris to answer their concerns and hear their pleas to reinstate Elbaz. 
Shortly after Elbaz's departure from Lanvin was confirmed, it became clear that he did not resign, but was dismissed by the owner over disagreements not about the label's creative direction or his workload, but about business issues, specifically, Ms. Wang's failure to secure sufficient financing to successfully support Lanvin's continued growth. Elbaz, along with other minority shareholders, have been pressuring her to sell her majority stake to someone better able to fund the company's expansion, specifically the rollout of more company owned boutiques. This is an area where Lanvin lags behind its competitors, receiving only about 20% of its revenue from its own stores, causing it to rely too heavily on the wholesale business. This has slowed Lanvin's growth as well as development of ancillary divisions like handbags and accessories. WWD had previously reported that Ms. Wang has been reluctant to sell, demanding too high of a price for the company and requiring a handpicked buyer which .
Whether Lanvin's employees have the clout to reverse their boss's decision, or Elbaz will even return if asked remains to be seen, but it seems that Ms. Wang has not only turned out her golden goose, but also alienated the rest of the company, whose support she will need to move forward.

Lanvin Employees Contest Alber Elbaz Ouster (WWD)


Alber Elbaz Is Leaving Lanvin

So, basically, no designer is secure in his or her job unless they also own the company outright.
Today, on the heels of Raf Simons' exit from Christian Dior, Lanvin announced that the designer who seemed most secure in his position at a great Parisian maison, Alber Elbaz, would be leaving his job as creative director there following a disagreement with the company's major shareholder.
The obvious conjecture is that much as they did with Nicolas Ghesquiere, who left Balenciaga and landed at Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault and LVMH will scoop up the much loved designer and install him in the corresponding post at Dior that Raf Simons just vacated.
Whether or not that will happen, and the hopes of Elbaz's many fans and probably a lot of retailers are certainly pinned on it, remains to be seen, but there is a similar scenario connecting the situations of both Ghesquiere and Elbaz. Both can be credited with not only reviving storied French couture houses which had fallen into quasi obscurity, but reshaping them from the bottom up and catapulting them to the forefront of the fashion scene in Paris. Both departed their respective companies with equity stakes originally meant to keep them tied to the houses and resistant to potential poaching by competing labels. Both left as result of unhappiness with upper management, requiring costly buyouts of their ownership stakes.
A hint of Elbaz's recent state of mind can be gleaned from an acceptance speech he gave just last week when he was honored at Fashion Group International's annual Night of Stars gala, pictured above with presenter Meryl Streep in an Lanvin Instagram post from earlier today. In an unexpectedly long speech, Elba expounded on the relentlessly accelerating pace of the industry and the pressure it puts on designers' creative process. Would Elbaz even want the notoriously high pressure job at Dior which comes with its own limitations and pressures? He has been rumored to have interviewed with LVMH for open design positions in the past, but ultimately choosing to remain at Lanvin where he has had his greatest success. Elbaz released the following departure statement of his own:

"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."

With two of the biggest design jobs in Paris now open, let the speculations fly, but it must be noted that well-known Elbaz fan and friend Natalie Portman has a fragrance endorsement at Dior, but often appears in Lanvin when her contract allows her to wear other labels. There's one person who would likely be thrilled to keep her favorite designer's clothes coming, regardless of what label he designs under.

Alber Elbaz Leaving Lanvin, Label Confirms (Business of Fashion)


Lanvin's Men's Store Is Now Open

LanvinMensMadisonIt's a tiny bit late and missing one of its promised floors, but the Lanvin Men's Boutique on Madison Avenue has finally opened its doors. Originally announced as three floors to be opening last Fall, the store quietly started admitting customers about a week and a half ago, though they have not actually held any opening events or celebrations yet. We are betting that the PR push will start sometime around Fashion Week, but we have never been one to wait for announcements. The list of designer boutiques in New York who missed their projected opening dates is so long that we would hardly hold tardiness against Lanvin, and as for the missing third level, the store seems to fit quite nicely into two very elegant floors for now.

Meant to replicate the interior of the brand's men's store in Paris, this next component of the Lanvin revival juggernaut features sleek, dark wood paneling with matte metal details to create a neutral background for creative director Alber Elbaz's and men's designer Lucas Ossendriver's collections. The long, narrow townhouse configuration echoes the original boutique a few doors up the street to a certain extent, with a staircase in the front leading upstairs. While not yet fully stocked for Spring, the street level is devoted to the sportier and more directional fashion side of the men's collection. A wall of sneakers showcases one of the brand's signature items in endless combinations of materials, with other accessories nearby. Much of the floor still features Fall sale merchandise, though we are expecting it will be fully stocked for spring by the time opening fanfare starts. A walk upstairs to the second floor brings us to the more elegant side of Lanvin, which had a thriving traditional menswear business for decades before Elbaz re-invigorated the label's fashion image with his women's collections. Customers who missed the label's more elegant "15 Faubourg" range can find more classical suits and dress furnishings here along with a plush eveningwear salon in the back.

Since much of the staff has simply been imported from what is now the women's boutique, we were thankfully spared the over effusive new-store-new-sales-associate treatment (you may still find some of that at Belstaff across the street if that's what gets you shopping), but they were appropriately welcoming and free of the sort of aloofness that still abounds on Madison Avenue. Of course, it's Lanvin, where sneakers start at around $595, but, at least for the next few weeks, there's a healthy selection of winter clearance still on the racks which should make you approximately 50% less intimidated by the prices. Sometimes on Madison Avenue, you have to take the best deal you can get.

Lanvin Men's Boutique 807 Madison Avenue between 67th & 68th Streets, Upper East Side


H&M's Lanvin Lookbook
And Video Are Out

LanvinHandM1 Oh, you thought today was Election Day.

No, It's the day H&M releases the full lookbook featuring model Irina Lazareanu for it's hotly anticipated collaboration with Lanvin to be launched in a presumable frenzy on November 23rd.

The Cut has every look in a slideshow complete with prices, so you can make your selections in advance and zero in on exactly the pieces you want amid the rampant grabbing that can be reasonably be expected in three weeks. Prices appear to top out at around $200 including accessories and shoes. There's menswear too, including some shiny blue oxfords, and every item for both genders looks vaguely like an adaptation of a familiar Lanvin runway look —all good for fans of the label.

If you feel you must see the collection in motion, then you are in luck today, because along with the lookbook, H&M has finally released the full, dreamy 4 and a half minute video featuring a glimpse of designer Alber Elbaz and a host of models of varying ages and sizes.
Watch after the jump.

Lanvin’s Full Men’s and Women’s H&M Look Book, With Prices (The Cut)


H&M's Lanvin Lookbook
And Video Are Out
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H&M's Lanvin Leak

Images from the couldn't-be-more-anxiously-awaited Lanvin ♥ H&M capsule collection aren't supposed to come out until November 2nd but Vogue Paris online managed to scare one up today. What can we learn from this early picture from the David Sims lensed campaign?

It looks like the collection will feature familiar Lanvin signature runway looks in more affordable versions, and plenty of black. Apparently, the offerings will be pitched to customers of all ages as the models include the young Tati Cotliar and Natasha Poly, the thirtysomething Belgian favorite Hannelore Knuts and Jane Schmitt who is of un certain age. There will also be great big sunglasses, which should please everyone.

We feel confident that this might be H&M's biggest collaboration project yet, and if you aren't there when the doors open on November 23rd, you might not bother to go at all.

Lanvin pour H&M : la première image exclusive (Vogue Paris via The Cut)