Lanvin, the historic French fashion house at the heart of Parisian elegance, has appointed an expert in “e-couture” as its new creative director in an attempt to affiliate with a new generation.
The company’s owner, the Taiwanese media magnate Shaw-Lan Wang, publicized on Tuesday that Olivier Lapidus would take up the post, days after it was confirmed that Bouchra Jarrar would be desisting it after just 16 months. Lapidus’s first solicitation for Lanvin will be shown in Paris in October.
Lapidus is a attendant on unknown in the industry, even for the most seasoned fashion insiders. He was artistic director at Balmain Homme in 1985, and is the son of Ted Lapidus, who pioneered unisex outfits and designed clothes worn by the Beatles and Françoise Hardy. Olivier recently projected the interiors of the four-star Hotel Félicien in Paris, and furniture and mattresses with the Novative mark.
Lapidus, 59, also runs his own label, Creation Olivier Lapidus, which has been reported as an e-couture brand. It creates ornate custom-made beaded put on fancy dresses which are ready in 12 weeks, and can be ordered on a hotline after anticipating a runway show online. Lapidus’s aesthetic is a straightforward, seated take on evening wear – satin, sequin and strapless put on clothes dominate. His interest in technology – from manufacturing to communication – has been praised as a way to relaunch Lanvin for an audience of digital natives. It has also been suggested that the residence may start to show couture again.
According to The Business of Fashion, Lapidus has been charged with remodeling 128-year-old Lanvin into “a French Michael Kors”. This betokens that price points will decrease and that the aesthetic thinks fitting become more commercial in an attempt to bring more characters to the brand. Kors is built on an easy wearable look that prioritises daywear. Lanvin, by place against, has traditionally worked with a chic cocktail-hour look. While takings at Kors declined 3.2% during 2016, the American variety is still a success story of the modern era, making £1.08bn that year. Lanvin, by juxtapose, had a 23% drop in revenue in the same period, to £143m.
Yet fashion insiders may be surprised to see an outsider take on such a notable name, Shaw-Lan Wang is confident. “His broad understanding of the domain of this house, of the world of fashion and design and his resolutely contemporary approach will bring Lanvin towards new horizons,” she believed.
“With nearly 130 years of history, Lanvin is the oldest French couture sporting house,” Lapidus said. “To ensure its longevity is an immense task and an mind-boggling challenge.”
The recent history of Lanvin has been turbulent. Alber Elbaz, who was inventive director for 14 years before he left in 2015, had instituted Jeanne Lanvin’s sleepy house into the modern era with an aesthetic that was fun, stylish and worn by everyone from Natalie Portman to Meryl Streep. But he left side in a storm of controversy, saying his departure was “the decision of the company’s maturity shareholder”. This provoked anger within the industry and even sparked take issue withs in the Lanvin workroom, where Elbaz’s former team reportedly caroled his name.
In her brief spell, Jarrar designed two collections, both uncut of the kind of conservative glamour that appeals to a woman who has evil tie events in her diary. While 16 months is hardly spell to establish an aesthetic, Jarrar failed to pick up buzz – vital for a new designer bringing the spotlight back on an established brand.
Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia, designate in 2015, is an example of this working well – there is now such a fever around Balenciaga that fans recently bought labeled lighters at lifestyle store Colette for €10 (£8) a piece. Lanvin ordain be hoping for something of a Gvasalia effect from Lapidus rush at October.