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Alber Elbaz is exiting Lanvin, WWD reports. Elbaz, whose singular vision has been pivotal to the success of the French fashion house, spent 14 years as Lanvin's head designer. According to WWD, don't believe the inevitable corporate press releases that detail an amicable split. Apparently, Elbaz was at odds with the company's owner Shaw-Lan Wang and CEO Michèle Huiban. Elbaz has long wanted Wang to sell her stake in the company to make way for someone with a better strategy to develop Lanvin in Asian markets, according to WWD's sources. However, Wang has allegedly been unreasonable in negotiations, demanding a high price and a buyer she knows and trusts.
Elbaz's departure instantly makes him a frontrunner for the chief creative spot just vacated by Raf Simons at Dior. Elbaz reportedly spoke with Dior when they were looking for a successor to John Galliano in 2011. However, they couldn't form a deal due to Elbaz's ownership stake in Lanvin.
But Elbaz may be just as likely to take a break from the fashion industry. The designer recently spoke out against the fashion industry's fast paced nature at the Fashion Group International's Night of Stars. "It's not about pressure, it's about the system," Elbaz said. "And the system has pressure, and the pressure has a system, so this is what I'm going to talk about. It won't be just ‘thank you so much.' It will be talking about things that are touching all of us people from this family of fashion." He added:
During Fashion Week in Paris, I spoke with a few editors that I know, and I asked, "Hey, how are you?" And they said, "Exhausted." They said to me that they used to see 50 shows a week. Now they have to see 50 shows a day. But only 24 hours. I spoke with a few writers in Paris, and they said the same thing. They used to write their review in a taxi, having an apple — and I'm not talking Apple computer, just a green apple — in between shows. That's how they gave us our verdict.
Now they have to do it during the show, with no apple, and stay long hours, and with no time to digest. And we know that fashion people don't eat much, don't we? The fashionistas are very, very busy during the show, filming everything. And when I came out after the show, I felt that there was no clapping. And I asked, "What's going on?" And they said, "They are filming, they don't have two hands, so what can they do?"
Update: A Lanvin spokesperson has confirmed to Business of Fashion that designer Alber Elbaz is departing Lanvin.
Update: New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman tweets that, contrary to earlier reports, Elbaz was asked to leave "on the decision of the company's majority shareholder." The company's majority shareholder is Shaw-Lan Wang, who reportedly had friction with Elbaz.
Alber Elbaz did not choose to leave @Lanvin, he was asked to leave, "on the decision of the company's majority shareholder."
— Vanessa Friedman (@VVFriedman) October 28, 2015
Elbaz also released a statement on the pair's split. Here it is in full from Vogue:
"At this time of my departure from Lanvin on the decision of the company's majority shareholder, 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 have 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 us with support since 2001. I wish the house of Lanvin the future it deserves among the best French luxury brands, and hope that it finds the business vision it needs to engage in the right way forward."