This article was originally published by i-D Australia.
Olivier Lapidus has joined Lanvin as artistic director of womenswear, following the surprise departure of Bouchra Jarrar last week. Lucas Ossendrijver remains director of menswear. Bouchra was with the independent French house for just 16 months, with much of her tenure overshadowed by controversy. In February, Casting director James Scully alleged she discriminated against models of colour. The designer denied the accusation.
New artistic director Olivier Lapidus spent a brief period at the helm of Balmain Homme, from 1985 to 1986, before joining his father's house Maison Lapidus. The brand folded in 2000 and he's since worked as a freelance fashion consultant, recently launching his own experimental couture project Creation Olivier Lapidus.
Business of Fashion report that sources close to the brand suspect Lavin could soon become "a French Michael Kors," but Olivier has promised he will push towards couture. "My DNA is couture," he told Vogue. "I see the value in Jeanne Lanvin; I want to speak to the person she is and mine her DNA." The site reports Lapidus has known Lanvin's majority-stakeholder Shaw-Lan Wang for 33 years.
Lanvin has struggled to regain its footing since Alber Elbaz's 2015 departure, reporting a 23% drop in revenue during 2016. The beloved designer helmed the brand for 14 years until his controversial dismal by Shaw-Lan. Lanvin staff protested Elbaz's ousting, and the former French culture minister went so far as to call his exit "an unspeakable injustice." One thing is certain: Olivier Lapidus has big shoes to fill.
Text Isabelle Hellyer