PARIS Oct 3 Star designer Alber Elbaz, whose
abrupt exit from Lanvin a year ago shocked the fashion world, is
back in action, this time dressing women with perfume.
Elbaz, for 14 years at the creative helm of Lanvin, France's
oldest fashion brand, on Monday announced he had created a
perfume called Superstitious for the French perfume house
Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle.
Frederic Malle is a niche perfume brand, part of U.S.
cosmetics giant Estee Lauder since 2014. Elbaz worked
with perfume creator or "nose" Dominique Ropion, who is behind
Frederic Malle's best-selling scents.
French perfumer Frederic Malle, who lives in New York, is
the only perfume company director who markets scents as the work
of a "nose" as would a publisher for its writers.
Niche perfumes are enjoying bigger sales growth than big
brands, analysts say, as consumers increasingly tire of those
backed by celebrities which they find resemble one another.
The fragrance created with Elbaz marks the second time
Frederic Malle has worked with a designer, having collaborated
with Belgium's Dries van Noten in 2013.
Elbaz made the announcement after receiving the Legion of
Honour, one of France's most prestigious accolades, from Culture
Minister Audrey Azoulay at the ministry's salons, in a ceremony
attended by more than 100 people, among them many familiar faces
from Lanvin, including former chief executives Thierry Andretta,
now head of Mulberry, and Paul Deneve, now at Apple.
The atmosphere was that of an alumni gathering with many
stylists, fashion editors and buyers who had not seen Elbaz
since his departure from Lanvin in October last year.
Elbaz was sacked after a spat with the brand's controlling
shareholder Taiwanese media magnate Shaw-Lan Wang. Partly
stoking tensions was the fact that Wang did not want to make the
investments Elbaz thought were necessary to help the brand grow,
sources had told Reuters.
Wang had rejected several offers for Lanvin, obtained by
Elbaz, including one from Valentino's Qatari owners Mayhoola,
the sources had said.
Dozens of Lanvin's staff rebelled against Wang after the
designer left and the spat triggered several legal proceedings,
some of which are ongoing.
Elbaz, the bespectacled designer who never wears socks, put
some on for the occasion. He said before his perfume was
distributed to guests: "I invited you today to a show with no
dresses. Instead, you will go out with a perfume of a dress."
(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Janet Lawrence)