Designer Bouchra Jarrar has quit Lanvin, the troubled Paris label confirmed Thursday, only 10 months after she showed her first collection there. The 46-year-old closed her own label last March so she could dedicate herself to reviving France's oldest fashion house. But it soon became clear that all was not well within the house, which has been in turmoil since the shock sacking of its previous designer Alber Elbaz in 2015.
In a short statement late Thursday, Lanvin said they had "mutually decided to put an end to their collaboration". The popular Elbaz had brought Lanvin, founded in 1889, back from the edge of oblivion before he fell afoul of its formidable owner, Taiwanese media magnate Shaw-Lan Wang. The label sank 18.3 million euros into the red last year, its first loss for a decade. Jarrar's two collections for the label were warmly received for their "sober elegance" by critics, and last week she was made an officer of France's prestigious Order of Arts and Letters for her services to fashion. But with morale low in the brand's workshop amid an exodus of talent after Elbaz's departure, and rumors of further friction over budget cuts, her exit was not unexpected.
In March, Jarrar hinted that she was not getting the support that she needed to turn the label around. "I want to bring my expertise, creativity, technical know-how and pragmatism" to the brand, she told the South China Morning Post. For that "I need the whole house's support. Alone it's impossible," she added. In the statement confirming her departure, Jarrar said she wished to "particularly acknowledge the work of the teams with whom I collaborated to express French creativity and know-how." French-born Jarrar, whose parents come from Morocco, started designing early, having learned to sew from her father. She spent a decade at Balenciaga under Nicolas Ghesquiere before becoming head of haute couture at Christian Lacroix, building up a loyal following for her minimalist and quintessentially French chic look of sharply cut tuxedo and leather jackets and pea coats. Wang and Lanvin's other major shareholder, Swiss businessman Ralph Bartel, plan to recapitalize the company and re-launch the brand, according to the French business magazine Challenges. — AFP