Departures Rock TWO Parisian Fashion Houses

                                                                                                                                                           Photo's: Patrick McMullan

Rumors flew for a few weeks before it actually happened, so we were given some time to prepare for the fact that Raf Simons may hand over his notice to depart Dior.  Then the news came - official word from Dior’s CEO, Sidney Toledano, stating Simons had chosen not to renew his contract with the French house after 3 years.

We recently saw Simons present his Spring/Summer 2016 ready-to-wear collection for Dior at Paris Fashion Week.  Simons cited personal reasons for his departure – allowing him to work on his own brand, and pursue other personal interests.

A short time after Dior was shaken up by Simons leaving - Lanvin dismissed Alber Elbaz after 14 years as creative director! This time there were no rumors to prepare us for the possibility. The news was announced by Elbaz himself in a press letter stating, “At this time of my departure from Lanvin was the decision of the company’s majority shareholder. I wish to express my gratitude and warm thoughts to all those who have worked with me passionately on the revival of Lanvin over the last 14 years . . . together, we have met the creative challenge presented by Lanvin and have restored its radiance and have returned it to its rightful position among France’s absolute luxury houses.”

Like Raf Simons, Alber Elbaz’s last show was also for Spring 2016 during Paris Fashion Week – it was staged as Lanvin ‘theatre’ and, using his own description, a ‘manifesto’. However, unlike Simons, Elbaz likely had no idea that was to be his last show.

Former French culture minister called Alber Elbaz’s firing “incomprehensible and shocking.” He released this statement: “To cut the wings of this exceptional talent in this way makes me very sad and angry. I can only share in the fervent wish of the Lanvin employees who are strongly and rightly calling for the return of this great designer. This dismissal is an unbearable and unspeakable injustice.” Elbaz told the New York Times in 2012 that he wanted to remain with Lanvin "forever", comparing the job to a marriage.

Although rumors have been circulating, as of now no replacements have been named for either fashion house.