Well, that was fast. Just six days after it was announced that Bouchra Jarrar would be departing Lanvin, the house has confirmed that Olivier Lapidus will take over as its new artistic director. His debut collection will be for Spring 2018.
Lapidus was the creative director for Balmain Homme from 1985-86 before helming the now-shuttered label Maison Lapidus. His father, the late Ted Lapidus, designed clothes for John Lennon, Françoise Hardy, and Brigitte Bardot and was given official haute couture status by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in 1963. In addition to working on capsule collections and designing decor for the tony Hôtel Félicien in Paris, Olivier Lapidus’ most recent endeavor was the launch of Creation Olivier Lapidus, an e-couture platform that he’s called “high tech” and “experimental.”
“Far ahead of his time, Olivier Lapidus has always been interested in new technologies,” owner Shaw-Lan Wang said in a statement. “As a precursor couturier, he now resonates with the aspirations of the company and will be able to take up the challenges of Lanvin in the 21st century.”
Since Alber Elbaz’s departure, revamping Lanvin is shaping up to be a much loftier goal than expected. The house has been on a steady decline in terms of sales for its womenswear—it experienced a net loss of more than $20 million in 2016 with revenue down 23 percent. It’s rumored that during her brief, 16-month stint at the house, Jarrar faced disagreements with CEO Michèle Huiban and that Wang’s reluctancy to invest in the struggling company contributed to her exit.
According to Business of Fashion, Lapidus plans to turn the storied brand—which is one of France’s last remaining independent heritage labels—into a “French Michael Kors.” Make of that what you will.
“It is a great honor to join Lanvin and I warmly thank Madame Wang for placing her confidence in me,” Lapidus said in a statement. “With nearly 130 years of history, Lanvin is the oldest French couture house. To ensure its longevity is an immense task and an exciting challenge.”