PARIS — Quashing ubiquitous speculation that he was headed for Givenchy, designer Alber Elbaz said Thursday he’s staying put at Lanvin.
“It makes sense for me to stay where I feel really comfortable,” Elbaz said in an exclusive interview. “I love the company and I love the house. It’s given me luck.”
Elbaz said he signed a long-term contract at Lanvin, but declined to specify the terms. He also skirted the Givenchy question, saying only: “There were a lot of rumors around. I talked to several people, as it was known my contract was up. But at the end of the day, I decided my place is Lanvin. I just started the job, in a way.”
Ever since Givenchy parted with designer Julien Macdonald last spring, editors and retailers alike have been vocally promoting Elbaz for the job. Givenchy, owned by luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has remained mum on its intentions, but it is believed to have courted Elbaz, who has been winning critical acclaim for the feminine, sophisticated dresses for Lanvin he’s been turning out over the past five seasons. Even Liv Tyler, the face of Givenchy fragrances, is among Lanvin’s celebrity devotees.
Julie Gilhart, vice president and fashion director at Barneys New York, applauded Thursday’s news, saying Elbaz’s aesthetic is perfectly matched with Lanvin.
“It’s working so well,” she said, noting Lanvin will soon move to enlarged digs on the second floor of Barneys’ Manhattan flagship. “Alber is an incredibly talented designer who has so much to say, and Lanvin is such a nice platform to say it.”
Elbaz said he renewed out of devotion to Lanvin owner Shaw-Lan Wang, and also out of recognition that “I don’t want to move around every few years to another house.”
To be sure, Elbaz has played his share of musical chairs.
After working in obscurity for seven years with Geoffrey Beene in New York, Israeli-born Elbaz was recruited in 1996 to head Guy Laroche. Three collections of young and fetching designs won him one of the most high-profile jobs in fashion: succeeding 20th century legend Yves Saint Laurent as the designer of YSL Rive Gauche ready-to-wear.
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