PARIS — Lanvin’s 330 employees are not taking the ouster of Alber Elbaz lying down.
The company’s works council has demanded that majority owner Shaw-Lan Wang, who pushed out the star designer, return to Paris from her native Taiwan to listen to their concerns, answer questions and reassure employees. They also have a message to deliver to her: Bring Elbaz back.
The employee body said it may also seek recourse with the Paris commercial court to mediate its opposition to the management decision.
Representatives of the works council divulged details of its revolt on a midday broadcast on French radio station RTL.
Lanvin staff were told of Elbaz’s dismissal on Wednesday — news met with shock, tears and chants of “Alber, Alber, Alber,” according to an anonymous employee, who was joined for the broadcast by council representative Charles-Henry Paradis.
News of Elbaz’s ouster after an eventful 14-year tenure was first reported on WWD.com on Wednesday morning Eastern Standard Time, 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 disagreements between Elbaz, Wang and chief executive officer Michèle Huiban.
Elbaz has yet to indicate his future intentions, and his successor at Lanvin has yet to be named. As reported, names on its short list could include Olivier Rousteing, Simone Rocha, Huishan Zhang and Joseph Altuzarra, as well as Lucas Ossendrijver, tapped by Elbaz in 2005 to rejuvenate Lanvin Homme.