According to WWD Elbaz, whose draped designs placed Lanvin in the fashion spotlight, is leaving his role as creative director following a series of disagreements between the fashion house’s chief executive officer Michèle Huiban, its owner Shaw-Lan Wang and the designer himself - although Lanvin is likely to say his departure was a “mutual agreement.”
The iconic designer’s fellow design team has reportedly already been informed of his impending exit and sources speculate that Elbaz has already cleared out his office on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. His sudden exit, which would come less than a week after Raf Simons announced his departure from Dior, has fuelled further rumours that Elbaz may be pegged as Simons successor.
Elbaz, who is known for his warm personality and couture craftsmanship is said to have previously held private talks with Dior for the role following John Galliano explosive exit in 2011, after his public anti-Semitic and racist outburst in Paris. However, discussions failed to progress at the time due to Elbaz ownership stake in the French fashion house, held through a holding company controlled by Wang.
Sources at WWD believe that Elbaz and Wang has been on thin ice as of late, as the Israeli designer had been pressuring Wang to sell her majority stake to make space for a new owner who would capitalise on the label’s potential to grow. He is said to have been worried by Wang’s reluctance to invest in the ongoing development of Lanvin’s retail network and brand profile, as other labels such as Saint Laurent, Givenchy and Chanel began to edge in on its territory.
Although Elbaz has been outspoken on his views of the ever quicken pace of the fashion world and the growing pressures placed on creative directors to sell, his potential exit remains sudden.