On Monday, the designer dispatched a letter to Lanvin owner Shaw-Lan Wang and chief executive officer Michèle Huiban expressing “shock” and contesting assertions that a lack of “creative designs” was partly to blame for the company’s woes.
In the letter, seen by WWD, Elbaz called the charges — detailed in an e-mail sent to Lanvin employees on Nov. 6 — as “unjustifiable” and blamed weak management and the lack of a marketing strategy and investment for stagnating sales.
He urged Wang and Huiban to cease questioning his creative work, or he would grant a long interview to defend his reputation, or seek legal action to gag them.
Meanwhile, in the Nov. 6 letter, also seen by WWD, Huiban described Elbaz’s ouster as “inevitable” given a degradation in his relations with the company.
She described his “aggression” towards management, urging Wang to sell the company and making other “grave” and “groundless” accusations.
A search for his successor is “under way” and Huiban expressed confidence in finding a creative talent to helm the brand, which celebrated its 125th birthday last year.
“The fundamentals of the business are healthy, its shareholder and governance are solid, the brand is strong, the strategy is clear,” she wrote.
But she noted relations with the works council are strained and a court hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 17 at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris to referee and restore constructive dialogue.
News of Elbaz’s ouster after an eventful 14-year tenure 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.