PARIS — Lanvin is to post a loss in 2015 after shedding more than 30 million euros of revenue over the past three years to 168 million euros, or $180.7 million at current exchange, last year.
Those are among figures disclosed by the French fashion house’s works council, which is protesting management’s decision to oust its star designer Alber Elbaz after a 14-year tenure.
On Tuesday, the employee group said it would evoke its “right to notify,” concerned about the economic and social welfare of the company following what it calls the “brutal” eviction of its artistic director.
Relations between the works council and management have been strained to the point of asking legal bodies to referee their dispute.
In a press release, the council said the company’s management sought court intervention to declare its demands abusive and is seeking 2,000 euros, or $2,150, in damages.
It is demanding that majority owner Shaw-Lan Wang return from her native Taiwan to reassure employees about the company’s future, and alleging that chief executive officer Michèle Huiban is deflecting employee anger over Elbaz’s ouster.
Disclosing the privately held company’s financial data, the council said net profits in 2014 fell to 2.9 million euros, or $3.53 million, versus 5.6 million euros, or $7.72 million, in 2013 and 12 million euros, or $15.8 million, in 2012, while sales dropped from a peak of 198 million euros, or $261.6 million, in 2012.
Dollar amounts are calculated at average exchange rates.
The works council argues that Elbaz, a talent with worldwide renown, returned the house to profitability and are concerned that his firing has weakened the security of the company’s 330 employees.
The war of words started escalating Monday when the designer dispatched a letter to management expressing “shock” and contesting assertions that a lack of “creative designs” was partly to blame for the company’s woes.
Meanwhile, in a Nov. 6 letter to employees, Huiban described Elbaz’s ouster as “inevitable” given an erosion in his relations with the company.
She described his “aggression” toward 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.
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.”