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Bridget Foley’s Diary: What’s Next for Lanvin?

Can Lanvin make a comeback? That is front-and-center among the many questions swirling around what should prove a fascinating spring 2018 season. While fashion’s current revolving-door mode has set up numerous designer debuts, including those of Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy and Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloé, curiosity surrounding the house founded by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889 is unique for two reasons: First, its current fashion identity as perceived by the majority of the fashion-buying population is defined by the work of Alber Elbaz rather than by any concept of its founder; and second, what, from the outside looking in, appears to be a business-side philosophy and infrastructure not intrinsically supportive of the creative process and perhaps lacking a baseline pragmatism.
Given those two issues, is it possible for Lanvin to regain its not-so-long-ago luster? It is, but it won’t be easy. To the first point, exchanges with several retailers revealed a unanimous thought: There remains a customer who still craves the work of Alber Elbaz, and is currently underserved by luxury market alternatives.
Incoming creative director Olivier Lapidus arrived with high hopes and enthusiasm for his new role. In a conversation with my colleague Joelle Diderich, he professed no knowledge of the

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