Friday, 30 October 2015

Another One Bites The Dust – Alber Elbaz Leaves Lanvin

Take your clothes and get gone.....
Image credit:  Vogue
I was shocked to read that Alber Elbaz, the champion of the peplum, was leaving Lanvin, without completing the pre-fall collection, no less.  It was only last week that Raf Simons announced that he was leaving Christian Dior and it didn’t seem so long ago that Alexander Wang was confirmed to be leaving Balenciaga.  But Alber Elbaz’s resignation is undeniably the most unexpected one of all. 

Looks from Alber Elbaz's last collection for Lanvin, Spring 2016
Image credit:  Vogue
For starters, there weren’t any rumours of discord between Alber Elbaz and the owners of Lanvin.  In fact, the designer even stated that he was “married to the house of Lanvin”.  And while Raf Simons and Alexander Wang had only worked for their employers for three years, Alber Elbaz had been working for Lanvin for 14 years.  I cannot remember a Lanvin without Alber Elbaz. It is incredibly sad that he reportedly had to leave due to a decision made by Lanvin’s majority shareholder. 
Two beautiful looks from Lanvin Spring 2009
Image credit:  Vogue
Alber Elbaz’s designs are usually colourful, feminine and feature a lot of draping.  I always admire all the embellishments on his clothes and his beautiful ballet flats.  Unfortunately, due to monetary constraints, I haven’t been able to own any of his beautiful clothing designs for Lanvin.  I have fondled many of them at Club21’s designer clearance sales, though.  I always thought they were exquisite yet simple and timeless. However, many of my friends thought that Lanvin produced “auntie” (meaning frumpy, middle-aged women) clothes and they wouldn’t consider wearing them. 
Two typical early Lanvin looks - Fall 2002 (left) and Spring 2003
Image credit:  Vogue
Actually, hardly anyone around me knows what Lanvin is (maybe, 3 people?).  A younger colleague who admires Valentino Rockstuds, carries Prada bags and wears Tory Burch Reva flats was completely clueless when I mentioned Lanvin.  She showed scant recognition even after I told her that Lanvin recently launched a fragrance called “Me” that was heavily promoted around town.  But she knew Tory Burch!  Another bunch of friends were discussing the Chanel Boy bag while petting a Tod’s D bag.  They, too, had no knowledge of a brand called “Lanvin” when I showed them a photo of a Lanvin bag.  But they did know Kate Spade. 

My only Lanvin - pink Lanvin lambskin clutch with red grosgrain ribbon
I was quite surprised to find that these people had never heard of Lanvin before.  After some thinking, I realised that all of them love designer purses and/or shoes but do not have any interest in designer clothing.  They could care less about cut, fabric quality and drapes (they would probably say that a draped dress looks like a curtain).  And Lanvin accessories haven’t exactly attained the same cult status as some of their competitors’ have. 

Alber Elbaz made ballet flats an integral part of Lanvin
Image credits (from left to right): net-a-porter, shopzoeonline, net-a-porter
I will sorely miss Alber Elbaz.  I hope he continues producing wonderful clothes. And I hope he doesn’t go to Christian Dior because it would be too ironic, after he gave a speech on the relentless pace of fashion.  Who knows, he could become like Azzedine Alaia, doing as he pleases?  I hope he won’t stop making witty comments and giving entertaining interviews.  I love his sense of humour and that he doesn’t take himself too seriously in the often self-important fashion industry. 

A Lanvin blouse at the Club21 designer clearance
One thing is for sure though – Alber Elbaz has many fans but Lanvin does not.  It will be interesting to watch what happens next. 

I leave you with some interesting reading. 

About Alber Elbaz leaving Lanvin:

Hilarious quotes from Alber Elbaz:

Highlights of a speech given by Alber Elbaz recently:

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