In Alber we Trust. Or at least we did. That is, until he announced today that he will depart Lanvin, ending his fourteen-year tenure at the house he once swore he would ‘never leave.’ Hot on the heels of Raf Simons‘ announcement that he will leave Dior, after a short-but-sweet stint, the timing of Alber Elbaz’ announcement does raise some very interesting questions. However, in the last couple of hours, Alber Elbaz has confirmed the reason for his departure was the decision of the major shareholder of the company,  Shaw-Lan  Wang, according to a full statement that was published on Business of Fashion. Whether it was a creative disagreement, a personality clash or a purely business decision is unclear. One thing is certain: It won’t be a cheap severance package as the Israeli designer is said to own a 10% shareholder stake in the Parisian company.

Having cut his sartorial teeth at Geoffrey Beene, Alber Elbaz then spent a stint  at Guy Laroche before being personally hand-picked by Yves Saint Laurent himself to head up his ready-to-wear label Rive Gauche. Alber Elbaz was a true classicist in design, perhaps one of the last remaining of his kind. While fashion now seems to favour the young (Alexander Wang), the brash (Jeremy Scott) and the daring (Alessandro Michele), where does this leave the quiet and unassuming Elbaz? Yes, his designs were raw around the edges, there were visible zips, unfinished seams and bold jewel hues but there were also bows, ribbons and expertly draped feminine gowns that reaffirmed the brand’s original, unadultered femininity from the time of its founder, Jeanne Lanvin.

Elbaz, who recently received the Superstar award at Fashion Group International’s Night of the Stars  spoke of the immense pressure on designers who he describes as ‘couturiers with dreams, with intuitions and with feelings’ to be commercial and shout about their work. As seen by the success of Alexander Wang’s collaboration with H&M and Jeremy Scott’s injection of Barbie-world so-bad-it’s-good into Moschino, the resurgence of the monogram has reared its ugly head yet again and this ‘loudness’ is completely at odds with Alber Elbaz’ quiet sartorial philosophy. In his own words, ‘I prefer to whisper.’

No Comments

Leave a Reply