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Bouchra Jarrar to leave Lanvin

Bouchra Jarrar is to leave her role as artistic director at Lanvin after just 16 months.

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.

Jarrar, a talented couturier who shuttered her namesake house to focus on Lanvin, and was last week made an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of France’s highest honours, has been 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.”

Meanwhile, her minimal, tailored aesthetic was a departure from Elbaz’s much-loved draped eveningwear, and a new direction was always going to take time to resonate with consumers in a way that came anything close to what Elbaz achieved in his 14-year tenure. “That personal connection that Alber fostered between the brand and the audiences was deep,” said Caroline Issa, chief executive and fashion director of Tank magazine, in a September interview with BoF.

SEE ALSO: Lanvin’s “Très Chic” new Beijing flagship store

Ultimately, initial sell-through has been underwhelming, and 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.

The news of Jarrar’s departure follows a catalogue of issues at Lanvin. The company is said to have appointed advisory firm Long Term Partners to conduct an audit and recommend ways to reduce the company’s costs, prompting rumours of layoffs.

Founded in 1889, 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.

“He disagrees with the options chosen by the management and wants an urgent change in strategy,” a source told Reuters of Bartel.

Updated 7:45pm GMT on 6th July, 2017:

In a statement issued to press Thursday evening, Lanvin confirmed Bouchra Jarrar’s departure. It read:

Lanvin and Bouchra Jarrar have mutually decided to put an end to their collaboration. This decision is effective as of today. Madame Wang wishes to thank Bouchra Jarrar who since her arrival brought her talent to serve the company. Bouchra Jarrar thanks Madame Wang for her trust. She wishes most particularly to acknowledge the work of the teams with who she collaborated to express creativity and French know-how. Bouchra Jarrar will now concentrate on new projects.