Well, that didn't take long: After less than a year on the job, Lanvin's Artistic Director Olivier Lapidus will exit the role, according to a release distributed by the French fashion house on Thursday morning. The in-house design team will be responsible for the women's collections until a new hire is announced.
The top-level departure follows the news of Fosun International's acquisition of Lanvin earlier this year. In other internal news, Joann Cheng, president of Fosun Fashion Group and chairman of the board of directors of Lanvin, has been appointed as CEO of Lanvin for "an interim period," according to the brand's statement. Nicolas Druz, who was hired as Lanvin's general manager last year, will transition to managing director of Fosun Fashion Group, supporting the Chinese conglomerate's business expansion in Europe.
Though Lapidus had big plans for Lanvin's future — including the goal of transforming the legacy couture house into a "French Michael Kors" — insiders knew it was only a matter of time until he would step down. Upon replacing Bouchra Jarrar in July 2017, the two collections he presented at Paris Fashion Week were met with extremely poor reviews, some of which bordered on cruel. "There is just no excuse for this ugly, boring fashion," wrote The Washington Post's Robin Givhan on Lapidus's debut collection last September. "Today Lanvin looked less expensive than ever," said Dan Thawley for Business of Fashion.
Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times was cautiously optimistic: "So perhaps it's too early to judge; perhaps things will change. If not, Lanvin will soon be famous not for being the oldest couture house in continual existence, but rather a business school case study in how to wreck a brand in three years."
A clear attempt to regain relevance, Lapidus leaned into fashion's beloved logomania for Spring 2018 in September, and his sophomore Fall 2018 collection presented in Paris last month was similarly unimpressive. In fact, it was "abysmal," according to Cathy Horyn at The Cut. "The company was recently sold to Fosun International, a Shanghai-based group that also owns the Caruso menswear label," she wrote. "It should consider finding new talent." After only eight months, it looks like Fosun International took Horyn's advice.
"Olivier steered the Maison through a transitional period between ownerships," said Cheng, in an official statement. "We thank him for that, and wish him every success for his own brand and future endeavors."
Lapidus will return to his own label, "Creation Olivier Lapidus," which he claims to be the first e-commerce based couture house.