“We designers started as couturiers with dreams, with intuitions and with feelings. We started with, ‘What do women want? What do women need? What can I do for women to make their lives better and easier? How can I make a woman more beautiful?’ That is what we used to do,” once said designer Alber Elbaz.
The Moroccan-born Israeli fashion designer Elbaz was born in Casablanca, Morocco and raised in Holon, Israel to a painter mother and father a colorist at a hair salon. After realizing his dream of becoming a doctor was not his true passion he studied at the Shenkar College of Engineering.
Before he dedicated 15 years to Lanvin as their Creative Director, Elbaz moved to New York in the mid-1980s to pursue a fashion career. He started off as an assistant for Geoffrey Beene for seven years. In 1996 the designer was recruited at Guy Laroche in Paris after his discovery by fashion executive Ralph Toledano. His popularity in the French fashion scene allowed him to receive the ultimate honor of succeeding the fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent of the Rive Gauche line in 1998. After Gucci Group chose Tom Ford to succeed Elbaz, the designer did a season with Krizia before landing his role at Lanvin in 2001.
At Lanvin, Elbaz revived the historic brand of Jeanne Lanvin making the brand more modern where he experimented with the single seam, tiered ruffles, sequins, and dramatic draping. Memorable aesthetics of Elbaz include the dramatic chunky jewelry, belts, and sunglasses realized in his eccentric illustrations. The success of Lanvin lead to a collaboration with the Swedish retailer H&M in 2010. After a dispute with the maison owner Shaw-Lan Wang, Elbaz left his role as Creative Director in 2015.
Elbaz’ end at Lanvin did’t stop the designer where he continued to design via collaborations with brands Tod’s, Lancome, and Le Sportsac. Elbaz created a new brand AZ Factory owned by Richemont to make clothing more accessible with the assistance of technology based on his inspirational meetings in Silicon Valley.
The talented designer won numerous awards throughout his career including the International Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2005, the Geoffrey Beene Fashion Impact Award in 2013, and the Officier of the Legion d’Honneur from the French government in 2016.
Elbaz died at the young age of 59 due to COVID-19 in Paris but is scheduled for his funeral service in the designer’s hometown, and where both of his parents are buried.
“My conclusion today is that fashion is very important, today maybe more than ever, because we fashion designers maybe have a role. We have the duty to bring beauty to the world, to make women feel better, to make women feel good, to uplift them.” Elbaz said on the fashion world.
At CR we commemorate the talented designer through his best work at Maison Lanvin.END
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