PARIS, France — Bouchra Jarrar has been named as the new artistic director of women’s collections at Lanvin. She will assume the role on Monday and her first collection for the house is expected to be for Spring/Summer 2017.
“It is a huge honour to continue promoting the Lanvin style, with designs created in the company's ateliers by teams who possess extraordinary expertise. Joining Lanvin meets a desire to expend my creation to wider fields of expression. It is my intention to bring to Lanvin the harmony and consistency of a fashion designed for women, a fashion of our time,” said Jarrar, who launched her eponymous Paris-based fashion house in 2010 and has previously held positions including studio director at Balenciaga and head of couture design for Christian Lacroix.
“Bouchra Jarrar is a talented and visionary designer. She is the obvious choice for Lanvin,” added Michèle Huiban, chief executive officer of the house, which was founded in 1889 by Jeanne Lanvin. “Her talent, her high standards and her mastery of cuts and fabrics will bring a breath of freshness and modernity into the house, while respecting its soul as the oldest Paris fashion house, a symbol of French elegance.”
Jarrar replaces Alber Elbaz, former artistic director of Lanvin, who was ousted from the company in October after a 14-year tenure. While Elbaz oversaw both men's and women's collections for the house, Jarrar will solely oversee the company's women's offering. Despite the critical success of Elbaz’s collections — which were more eveningwear-focused than Jarrar’s designs for her own label — in the last year, Lanvin’s consolidated sales are expected to have fallen to about €200 million euros (about $221.7 million at current exchange) from a peak of more than €250 million a few years ago, according to market sources.
Lanvin, which has been owned by Taiwanese entrepreneur Shaw-Lan Wang since 2001, has also yet to fully crack the lucrative leather goods business, and remains reliant on wholesale for about 70 percent the company’s revenues (direct retail makes up only 30 percent). This stands in contrast to rival luxury brands, many of which accrue a larger proportion of revenues from direct retail, and have built up significant accessories businesses. In 2015, sales of accessories accounted for almost 30 percent of the total global luxury market, up from 18 percent in 2003, according to Exane BNP Paribas.
According to market reports, Lanvin’s management also considered Simone Rocha, Huishan Zhang and Erdem Moralioglu — all of whom run eponymous fashion labels based in London — for the position. Lucas Ossendrijver, who has been creative director of Lanvin Homme since 2006, is reportedly in contract talks and has been seeking to make menswear an autonomous department, in a move that would mirror the set-up at Dior and Louis Vuitton, where the men’s and women’s offerings have separate creative leaders.
Jarrar, 45, graduated from Paris’ Duperré School of Applied Arts in 1994. After a two-year tenure designing Jean Paul Gaultier’s licensed jewellery collection, she joined Balenciaga under Josephus Thimister, then-artistic director at the house, and later served as studio director under Nicolas Ghesquière. She earned the official haute couture appellation in 2013. Last year, French venture capital firm Mode et Finance took a minority investment in Jarrar’s label. (Jarrar retains a 74 percent holding in the company.)