Alber Elbaz was known for dressing some of the most high profile celebrities in the industry including Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian, and Sarah Jessica Parker. It was announced this week that Elbaz unfortunately passed away at the age of 59 due to the Covid-19 virus.
Elbaz began drawing dresses and designs at seven-years-old, quickly discovering his passion for creativity and beauty. He worked with Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent before he became the creative director of Lanvin in 2001. It was thought that under Elbaz’s leadership he was not only able to transform the Lanvin brand, but the overall fashion industry’s relationship with Hollywood stars.
He famously discussed how “The red carpet has gone from elitist to popular. Everyone has access to it, even if only on the internet or through magazines. Since fashion is an integral part of celebrities’ lives, it’s become a kind of permanent red carpet despite itself.”
Back in 2014 Elbaz shocked the entire industry when he decided to leave Lanvin. Besides having smaller collaborations with brands like Converse and Lancome, he for the most part was absent from the fashion industry for five years. Eventually he was interviewed by wallpaper Magazine about his hiatus in which he explained:
“I’ve had time to observe and live a life not as a fashion designer, but just as a human being.”
After that, he announced the launch of his new label, AZ Factory, in January of this year. The label is size-inclusive and made “figure flattering dresses and trainers.” Size inclusivity has been an issue in the fashion industry since the dawn of its creation, and has always been something Elbaz fought for.
“I am overweight, so I am very aware of what to show and what not to show and I am sure there is a huge link with being an overweight designer and the work I do.”
AZ Factory was financially backed by Richemont, in a statement Richemont’s chairman, Johann Rupert, said: “His inclusive vision of fashion made women feel beautiful and comfortable by blending traditional craftsmanship with technology – highly innovative projects which sought to redefine the industry.”
Many members of the fashion community have been mourning the loss of Elbaz online this week with touching and personal tributes to being dressed and styled by the icon.
Kim Kardashian wrote: “Alber dressed me for my first Vogue cover and gifted me with the cover dress to hold on to that memory forever.” Sarah Jessica Parker posted a photo of the keepsakes she received from the designer, saying: “He always left little notes inside parcels … [he was] loved and brought joy to every occasion.”
Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri wrote that he was the “first person who made me feel at home in the fashion industry.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.