PARIS — The mayor of Paris has waded into the controversy surrounding the departure of Alber Elbaz as creative director of Lanvin, expressing her “failure to understand” the Israeli-American designer’s ouster.
“By dismissing the person to whom it owes its renewal and an essential part of its influence, does the house of Lanvin not risk losing a part of its soul?” Anne Hidalgo wrote in a letter sent to Lanvin majority owner Shaw-Lan Wang and copied to the house’s chief executive officer Michèle Huiban, seen by WWD.
She also expressed her concerns for the future of Lanvin’s 330 employees “legitimately destabilized by an incomprehensible decision.” The Socialist politician urged the owner to meet with her and discuss these “essential issues,” and offered to accompany her in paying a visit to the Lanvin ateliers in the near future.
“The destiny of these métiers is linked to that of Paris and to the history of our city, which is why I am moved by it,” she said.
Officials at Lanvin were not immediately available for comment.
News of Elbaz’s ouster was first reported on WWD.com on Oct. 28, with the designer holding out hope that the company “finds the business vision it needs to engage in the right way forward.”
Sources said the rupture came following bitter disagreements between Elbaz, Wang and Huiban.
Elbaz has yet to indicate his future intentions, and his successor at Lanvin has not been named.
A raft of design talents recruited by Elbaz are carrying the torch for his soigné designs and working on the French house’s pre-fall 2016 collection. These include Chemena Kamali, who recently joined Lanvin as design director for women’s ready-to-wear from Chloé, while Lucio Finale was recently promoted to creative director of women’s bags and shoes after one year as its head designer of women’s bags, as reported.