If the departure of Raf Simmons of Dior last week didn’t rock the fashion world enough, it’s been reported that Alber Elbaz is stepping down as Creative Director of the luxury fashion brand, Lanvin. Mr. Elbaz is credited with transforming the French house (starting in 2001) to a thriving business that changed the trajectory of fashion in the ensuing years. His designs celebrated beauty and women although he also designed men’s collections.
Mr. Elbaz released this statement to WWD:
“I wish to express my gratitude and warm thoughts to all those who have worked with me passionately on the revival of Lanvin over the last 14 years; express my affection to all my wonderful colleagues in the Lanvin ateliers who accompanied me, and who enriched and supported my work, Together, we have met the creative challenge presented by Lanvin and have restored its radiance and returned it to its rightful position among France’s absolute luxury fashion houses.
“I also wish to express my profound and deepest gratitude to all of the clients and friends, to the French and international press and to all those business partners who collaborated with Lanvin, providing support since 2001, I wish the house of Lanvin the future it deserves among the best French luxury brands.”
There will no doubt be speculation that Mr. Elbaz will take on Dior or at least be considered for the spot that last week’s departure left open. Established fashion designers seem to be leaving in droves like Simmons at Dior, Elbaz at Lanvin and Frida Giannini from Gucci to name a few. This signals a sea change in the fashion and luxury worlds.The departures of the established guard in the fashion world can no longer be attributed to chance. Many have complained about the accelerated pace of fashion and fashion shows and the loss of creativity and craft. Fashion shows (now held in many capitals around the world) qualify as entertainment with the focus on who is in the front row instead of the clothing on the catwalk. And it seems anyone who has a recognizable name can send sketches to a factory outside of the U.S. to make samples and start a namesake collection. The allure and mystery of the very notion of fashion designers, as a creative force, has been crushed in this social media driven world. It will be interesting to see where the future of the industry will head in the coming years.