Pin It
Alber Elbaz
Alber Elbazvia

Alber Elbaz and Lanvin bosses engage in a war of words

Things get messy chez Lanvin as the house’s CEO accuses its former creative director of ‘aggression’ and having a lack of ‘creative designs’

Two weeks ago Lanvin hit headlines after its creative director, Israeli designer Alber Elbaz, left the house after 14 years at the helm. While reasons behind the designer’s departure weren’t immediately apparent, it soon emerged that Elbaz was forced out by the house’s shareholders. Since then the relationship between the former creative director and its owner Shaw-Lan Wang and CEO Michèle Huiban has almost completely deteriorated.

According to WWD, Elbaz sent an email to Lanvin’s employees expressing his “shock” at Wang and Huiban’s assertion that the company’s problems were because of his lack of “creative designs” and his “‘aggression’ towards management”. He also contests “other ‘grave’ and ‘groundless’ accusations”, describing them as “unjustifiable”.

Instead Elbaz cites “weak management and the lack of a marketing strategy and investment for stagnating sales” as the reasons for his dismissal and, additionally, issued a threat to the house’s owner and CEO, telling them that he would give a “long interview” if they didn’t stop undermining him. 

When it comes to taking sides, it’s clear who Lanvin’s employees are backing. News of the Elbaz’s dismissal was reportedly met with “tears and chants of ‘Alber, Alber, Alber.’” The company’s work council later issued a message to Wang and Huiban, telling them to “listen to (house’s employees) concerns, answer questions and reassure employees” and to “bring Elbaz back.”

While Elbaz’s replacement has not yet been named, the house has revealed which designers are creating its next (pre-fall 2016) collection: Chemena Kamali who is design director for women’s ready-to-wear and Lucio Finale who has recently been promoted to creative director of women’s bags and shoes (from head designer of women’s bags). Perhaps Lanvin will follow Gucci’s example by sourcing its new creative director in-house – Alessandro Michele was formerly associate to Frida Giannini.

We have reached out to Lanvin for a comment.

Watch Alber Elbaz’s last show for Lanvin below: