We were surprised to hear that Derek Lam was leaving Tod’s, mainly because his role there had been so under-the-radar, which is a somewhat neutral way of saying under-publicized. But while we assumed the departure was an amicable parting-of-ways, a very confusingly worded statement from Tod’s indicates that things may have been just a smidge more complicated.
Here’s what Diego Della Valle and Tod’s had to say about the split.
“Following the rumors of an alleged termination of the collaboration between Tod’s and Derek Lam, the company confirms that the agreement between the parties is set to terminate on 30/9/12. In the meantime, Tod’s is in the process of evaluating its options, considering that, based on the company’s future development plans, the role of the Creative Director of Tod’s will be central and even more important. The choice will therefore be directed toward an individual with great creative talent and able to commit the necessary amount of time to the success of the brand.”
From what we can parse, Tod’s isn’t saying Lam is definitely leaving, just that his employment contract with the brand ends at the end of September. But it’s the last sentence that feels the most biting. That Tod’s is looking for “an individual with great creative talent and able to commit the necessary amount of time to the success of the brand” seems to indicate that Lam wasn’t either of those things, which: ouch.
It’s very rare for a brand to release a statement that is so backhanded about a departing designer. No matter the circumstances, both parties tend to say very glow-y, flow-y things about each other — this is fashion, after all — which means we can’t wait to see how Lam responds.