In 2016, the fashion world cheered when it was announced that Bouchra Jarrar, the independent female couturier whose way with a tuxedo has seduced a gaggle of equally independent women, had been named the first female designer to take the helm of the oldest French fashion house in continuous existence since Jeanne Lanvin herself.

The job had been empty, the brand roiled with turmoil and the choice fraught with emotion since Alber Elbaz, the designer who defined Lanvin in the modern era, had been unceremoniously fired in 2015. There was a sense that Ms. Jarrar, a slight woman with a core of steel, was ready to step up, and one of the few designers who could take on the role, in all its messy promise.

That lasted 16 months. By July 2017, she was out — another victim of confused management and yet one more fashion cautionary tale — and in the past two years largely absent from view.

This week that is going to change. She is back, on the couture schedule, under her own name once again, and ready to tell a somewhat different story. Here is what to expect. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)

Did you always know you would return to fashion, or did you consider leaving altogether?

I needed some time for myself, to have some distance and time to reflect. I was part of this system that was so fast, and produced so much, but gave no time to breathe. It was essential for me to open up to the world beyond fashion for my creativity, so I did these photographic projects that took me away, even to Africa, but fashion is my métier, and my passion.

Is the new collection going to be a surprise?

It is not a relaunch. I am calling it an “Edition.” It is my most signature silhouettes, my essence, like the building blocks of my style. So there is my Smoking, which is based on a 2014 piece; my Perfecto, from my 10th collection. I kept all my archives when I closed my brand.

Because it is such an intimate collection, I decided to invite everyone into my home for the show. By keeping it small I also keep my quality of life, which I think is expressed in my work.

How small is small?

Only 15 styles. I am doing it alone, out of my house, with external collaborators and ateliers. And I am so happy. I had 25 years of working in a big house. I learned a lot.

Maybe what I learned most now is I don’t have to function like that. I don’t have to speed up a collection just because an executive tells me to speed up. Now I can be very artisanal. This is the heart of my work, my world. I am putting all my savoir-faire on the line.


When you buy something you love, it is timeless, and you can wear it always, and you should. I feel very much there are too many clothes, too many things, and I was a part of making that happen.

I am guilty. I made too many collections. But not any more.

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