Bouchra Jarrar is Leaving Lanvin

The French designer’s exit comes after just 16 months

Bouchra Jarrar is leaving Lanvin after only two collections, the French house confirmed this afternoon. Jarrar succeeded Alber Elbaz—who was controversially ousted from Lanvin after 14 years—last March. As artistic director, she designed two womenswear collections for Spring 2017 and Fall 2017.

There is speculation that decreasing revenues and lack of investment in the company contributed to her inability to revive the struggling brand, which is owned by Taiwanese businesswoman Shaw-Lan Wang. In June, the house reported a 23 percent loss in sales for 2016, a departure from the booming profits Lanvin experienced under Elbaz’s reign. A spokesperson for Lanvin said the decision was mutual. 

Jarrar left her own namesake couture label to focus on Lanvin, telling the South China Morning Post this past March that she “wanted to dedicate my whole self to Lanvin, to relaunch the Maison and brand, so I shut my own label down… But I need the whole house’s support; alone it’s impossible.” 

During her brief 16-month tenure, the French couturier received generally positive reviews from critics. Her aesthetic—one of expert cutting, streamlined elegance, and sleek sportswear—was a change from Elbaz’s unapologetically feminine eveningwear. Fashion Unfiltered dubbed her debut collection a “triumph,” although the lack of diversity in her cast of models was highly criticized.

Jarrar’s exit from the French luxury house, which was founded by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889, comes at a time when fashion is experiencing a feminist resurgence, with designers like Maria Grazia Chiuri taking over at Dior and Clare Weight Keller succeeding Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy. Still, it’s hardly a revolution (the hiring rate for women in couture positions is a measly 24 percent) and as it stands, men are mostly designing our clothes. Jarrar, for what it’s worth, once said, “It’s wonderful to arrive at Lanvin as a woman because it’s a woman’s story.” 

There’s an insurmountable pressure put on today’s designers. As Lucinda Chambers, the former British Vogue editor who’s been making headlines as of late (albeit controversially) said in her candid interview in Vestoj, “Fashion is an alchemy: it’s the right person at the right company at the right time… Everyone wants more, faster and faster. Big companies demand so much more from their designers—we’ve seen the casualties.”

Mix that with Lanvin’s struggle to remain profitable and it all makes sense—the odds were against her. In February, we likened the state of fashion to the Wild West, and the news of Jarrar’s departure, which will reportedly come ahead of the Spring 2018 season, feels like another byproduct of the volatile nature of the industry. 

“Bouchra Jarrar thanks Madame Wang for her trust,” the house said in a statement. “She wishes most particularly to acknowledge the work of the teams with who she collaborated to express creativity and French know-how.”

*This post was updated after receiving an official statement from Lanvin

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