More Sad News For Struggling French House Lanvin; Olivier Lapidus Exit As Artistic Director

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Lanvin Spring 2018 Ready To Wear.

PARIS — A month after DM Fashion Book reported that¬†Chinese¬†conglomerate¬†Fosun International¬†has acquired a majority stake in struggling¬†French¬†fashion house¬†Lanvin¬†(see it here), artistic director Olivier Lapidus has exited the company. Lanvin is also parting ways with general manager Nicole Druz.

Joann Cheng, president of Fosun Fashion Group and chairman of the board of directors of Lanvin, has been appointed chief executive officer of the French firm for an interim period, effective immediately, the house said today Thursday (March 22).

Druz, a close associate of former majority shareholder Shaw-Lan Wang, had led the brand since last summer following a management reshuffle. He will take up the new position of managing director of Fosun Fashion Group, where he will support the group’s business expansion in Europe, Lanvin said.

Lanvin¬†is¬†France‚Äės oldest fashion house, and the brand suffered a sales slump ever since¬†Alber Elbaz¬†was shockingly fired in 2015,¬†after 14 years at the house (see it¬†here). His successor was¬†Bouchra¬†Jarrar¬†(see it¬†here). After 15 months and two collections,¬†Jarrar¬†left the troubled house¬†(see it¬†here).

Last¬†July 2017, it was announced that¬†French¬†designer¬†Olivier Lapidus¬†was named¬†Lanvin‚Äės new artistic director, replacing¬†Jarrar¬†(see it¬†here).¬†Lapidus debuted his first,¬†logo-heavy collection¬†for¬†Spring 2018, but it received¬†less-than-stellar reviews.

The women’s collections will be designed by an in-house team in the interim, and Lapidus will resume designing under his own name.

‚ÄúOlivier steered the maison through a transitional period between ownerships,‚ÄĚ said Cheng. ‚ÄúWe thank him for that, and wish him every success for his own brand and future endeavors.‚ÄĚ

Cheng has more than 20 years’ experience in senior management, having served as the chief financial officer of Chinese technology firm DJI Innovations, finance director of private equity firm TPG and Greater China controller at GE Capital, the financial services unit of General Electric.

She will act as CEO during a transition period, after which a permanent CEO will be appointed.

‚ÄúLanvin is a truly iconic and storied brand with immense potential,‚ÄĚ Cheng said. ‚ÄúBy being a part of the Fosun Fashion Group, Lanvin‚Äôs future growth can leverage resources from the expansive global platform of Fosun‚Äôs established companies and experts.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúThe re-launch of Lanvin with fresh talents, while adhering to the values that the brand has maintained since 1889, is fundamental to returning the maison to its rightful position at the top table of the world‚Äôs most lauded and innovative fashion houses,‚ÄĚ Cheng said.

Fosun beat Qatari rival Mayhoola Group to win control of the label, which was facing a liquidity crisis. The Chinese conglomerate has completed a deal to become the majority shareholder in Lanvin.

Fosun, which owns¬†French¬†leisure company¬†Club Med, is the latest Chinese firm to expand into fashion labels at a time when consumers in¬†China¬†‚ÄĒ the world‚Äôs second biggest economy¬†‚ÄĒ are driving a global revival in luxury goods spending.

Lanvin, until now had struggled financially in recent years after switching designers.

Fosun¬†gave no financial details of the transaction. It said current shareholders¬†‚ÄĒ who include¬†Wang, with 75 percent of the firm, and¬†Swiss¬†businessman¬†Ralph Bartel, who has 25 percent ‚ÄĒ would retain a minority stake in¬†Lanvin.

The¬†Chinese¬†group will invest around 100 million euros ($123 million) in the business, a source close to the matter said.¬†Fosun¬†added in a statement that with its resources¬†Lanvin¬†would ‚Äúenter a new phase of expansion.‚Ä̬†The division aims to create long-term value through a variety of strategic initiatives, including brand building, new product development, strategic alliances, entry into new channels and marketing.

Wang and Bartel have been offered the opportunity to provide a portion of the total investment, a decision they will have to make by early April, the source added.

If Wang does not reinvest in the brand, her share will decline to around 20 percent from 75 percent previously. Bartel’s share has been diluted from the 25 percent he owned previously. If he decides to reinvest, he would be left with a stake of between 20 and 25 percent, the source added.

Lanvin does not publish earnings. It made an 18.3 million euro loss in 2016, sources with knowledge of the situation had told Reuters. Losses had been forecast to rise to at least 27 million euros in 2017, they said.

Lanvin Spring 2018 Menswear.

Photos Credit: Luca Tombolini / Indigital.tv & Kim Weston Arnold / Indigital.tv

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Donovan

Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email don@dmfashionbook.com Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.