25-Sep, 20:39

14:51, July 06 147 0

2017-07-06 14:51:02
Bouchra Jarrar, Artistic Director at Lanvin, Is Out After 16 Months

Bouchra Jarrar, the artistic director at Lanvin, is to leave the French fashion house after 16 months amid tumbling sales, entrenched internal discord and a difference in opinion over the direction of the brand with its Taiwan-based owner, Shaw-Lan Wang.

Ms. Jarrar, 46, completed only two ready-to-wear collections — spring 2017 and fall 2018 — for the house before the termination of her contract, which was announced by the company Thursday and effective immediately.

“Madame Wang wishes to thank Bouchra Jarrar, who since her arrival brought her talent to serve the company,” it said in a statement. “Bouchra Jarrar thanks Madame Wang for her trust. She wishes most particularly to acknowledge the work of the teams with whom she collaborated to express creativity and French know-how.”

The statement concluded by saying that Ms. Jarrar would now “focus on new projects.” But what those may be remains unclear.

Ms. Jarrar, the former design studio head for Balenciaga, who last week was made an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of France’s highest honors, closed her eponymous fashion label following her appointment at Lanvin in March 2016 to focus on the daunting task in hand. Her arrival came at a moment of crisis for Lanvin, one of France’s last major independent fashion labels in an industry dominated by multibrand groups such as LVMH and Kering.

The house, founded by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889, had fallen into chaos following the acrimonious ousting of Alber Elbaz, Ms. Jarrar’s popular predecessor, by Ms. Wang in October 2015. The decision had resulted in both walkouts and the workers’ council suing Lanvin’s management. Yet despite having the good will of the industry, impeccable design credentials and initial backing of the board, including chief executive Michèle Huiban, Ms. Jarrar did not manage to begin a successful new chapter in its history.

Her two ready-to-wear runway collections received lukewarm reviews from critics. Reports of internal disharmony continued as external consultants were brought in with a mission to cut costs. Then, in June, Lanvin reported a 23 percent fall in revenue for 2016, down to 162 million euros after a net loss of €18.3 million. By comparison, in 2015 it reported a profit of €6.3 million, and in 2012, at the zenith of the label’s success, revenues were €235 million.

Both retail buyers and Lanvin’s clientele, it appeared, were struggling to adapt to Ms. Jarrar’s monochromatic and minimalist silhouettes, at stark odds to the unashamed maximalism and explosion of color that came to define the aesthetic of the house during Mr. Elbaz’s 14-year tenure. In the final months at the design helm of Lanvin, and amid the continuing turmoil, it became clear that Ms. Jarrar had started to feel the strain.

“I have pressure,” Ms. Jarrar said in March in an interview with The South China Morning Post. “I wanted to dedicate my whole self to Lanvin, to relaunch the maison and brand, so I shut my own label down.” She added, “But I need the whole house’s support; alone it’s impossible.”

As of Thursday, no successor to Ms. Jarrar had been announced. The house is next due to show a collection during Paris Fashion Week in September. Ms. Jarrar could not be reached for comment by publication time.