The company, which experienced a 23 percent fall in revenue in 2016, is also understood to be leaving its Boissy d’Anglas headquarters, where founder Jeanne Lanvin founded her atelier in 1889, and moving to the suburban Levallois area at the end of the year. Sources have described the changes as “the end of an era.”
The company’s strategic overhaul follows a report in January that it appointed advisory firm Long Term Partners to conduct an audit and recommend ways to reduce the company's costs.
Lapidus, who started his new role on Monday, was creative director of Balmain Homme from 1985-86 before joining Maison Lapidus, and is the son of the late Ted Lapidus, who designed clothing for The Beatles. Following the closure of Maison Lapidus in 2000, Lapidus worked on capsule collections with a variety of partners, and designed the décor for Paris’s Hotel Felicien. Most recently, he founded his own maison, “Creation Olivier Lapidus,” which he describes as an e-couture house.
If a “French Michael Kors” is indeed Lanvin’s new strategy, Lapidus would be well placed, given his desire to develop a lifestyle brand. “You don’t create a product, you create a universe,” he told Bonjour Paris in 2014. “Lifestyle is the last link in the chain of fashion design.” However a representative for Lapidus' couture house told BoF: “[Lanvin] is currently envisaging making haute couture again with Olivier.”
His appointment follows Jarrar’s departure from the label on Thursday, after just 16 months in the role. Jarrar, a talented couturier who was last week made an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of France’s highest honours, was unable to single-handedly revive the brand, which has suffered from falling revenues amidst a lack of investment since the days of her predecessor.
“I have pressure,” she admitted in a March 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… But I need the whole house’s support; alone it’s impossible.”
Jarrar succeeded Alber Elbaz, who left the brand after 14 years in October 2015 following disagreements with its Taiwan-based Chinese owner, Shaw-Lan Wang.
In June, Lanvin reported a 23 percent fall in revenue for 2016, down to €162 million 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 label’s peak, revenues were reported at €235 million.
Lanvin is one of France's last major independent fashion brands. Wang, who became the brand’s controlling shareholder in 2001, has been reluctant to invest in the brand for many years. According to reports, she would not let her associate Swiss investor Ralph Bartel, who owns 25 percent of Lanvin, inject more cash into the business to support the brand as it would dilute her stake.
Representatives for Lanvin and Lapidus did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.