PARIS (AFP) - Alber Elbaz is to leave Lanvin after 14 years as its creative director, the fashion house said on Wednesday (Oct 28), fuelling rumours that he might take the vacant seat at Christian Dior.
"Lanvin and Alber Elbaz have ended their collaboration after 14 years," a company spokesman said, confirming a report in the industry publication WWD that the 54-year-old Moroccan-born Israeli was to leave.
The departure comes less than a week after Raf Simons quit Christian Dior and will add to industry speculation that Elbaz might be seeking to fill his shoes at another of France's biggest fashion names.
Elbaz succeeded Spanish designer Cristina Ortiz at Lanvin - France's oldest fashion house still in operation - in 2001.
The same year, cosmetics giant L'Oreal sold the brand to a group of investors headed by Taiwanese media magnate Wang Shaw-lan.
It is believed that Elbaz - praised for his draped styles for Lanvin and admired for his affable demeanour in the high-strung fashion world - held talks with Dior in 2011 when it was seeking a replacement for British designer John Galliano after he was sacked following an anti-Semitic outburst at a Paris cafe.
But WWD reported that those talks came to nothing because Elbaz had an ownership stake in Lanvin through a holding controlled by Wang, which proved to be a stumbling block to a deal.
The departures of Elbaz and Simons cap a turbulent year in the haute couture sector.
In October, Balenciaga named German wunderkind Demna Gvasalia as its new creative director to replace American designer Alexander Wang.