So much for Lanvin being on the brink of becoming the “French Michael Kors.” On Thursday, the French fashion house announced that it is parting ways with its creative director, Olivier Lapidus, after just two seasons. When he was installed in his role in July (after then creative director Bouchra Jarrar left her post after 15 months), the company had plans to potentially expand into a lifestyle brand and perhaps even bring couture back to Lanvin.
“When we began discussions, Lanvin was interested by my [Internet] approach," Lapidus told Vogue at the time of his appointment. “New technologies can be very pertinent for the oldest couture house in France. Clearly there is something innovative to tap there in terms of positioning and communications.”
Now, we’ll never know what could be, as Lapidus, along with Lanvin’s general manager, Nicolas Druz, are out effective immediately, WWD is reporting. This is the first major change for the label since Fosun International, a Chinese conglomerate, bought Lanvin in February. In the interim, Joann Cheng, the president of Fosun Fashion Group and chairman of Lanvin’s board of directors, will act as CEO.
“Olivier steered the maison through a transitional period between ownerships,” Cheng tells WWD. “We thank him for that, and wish him every success for his own brand and future endeavors.” Lapidus showed his second (and final) collection in February and, moving forward, an in-house design team will take over the women’s collection. Lapidus will resume designing for his namesake brand, Creation Olivier Lapidus, which is described on its website as an “e-couture house.”
To say that Lanvin is in the midst of an identity crisis would be putting it mildly, something former creative director Alber Elbaz hinted at when he left the company in October 2015 after 14 years in October 2015. “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,” he said in a statement.
After two creative directors who can’t seem to break the three-year curse, Elbaz’s words still ring true.