The death of Alber Elbaz It took the fashion industry, and the entire world, by surprise. Without a doubt, Alber was one of the most brilliant and creative minds. He began his career in New York as an apprentice to Geoffrey Beene, which led him to work in different houses before becoming Creative Director, first at Saint Laurent and then, in 2003, at Lanvin. Her sudden departure from the oldest French house founded by Jeanne Lanvin saw a hiatus in her career; but his return was only a couple of months ago with his own signature AZ Factory.
The brand’s debut collection that the Richemont conglomerate included in its portfolio was a taste of what the designer really was: colorful, outgoing, fanciful and, above all, free. With the pandemic, presenting the anticipated launch on a runway was totally illogical. So Alber opted to make a 25-minute film, which, although it was a new experience for him, was in a way more personal. ‘We started working on the film a week before Christmas Eve, so between Covid and Christmas I can’t tell you how complex everything was,’ commented Alber Elbaz laughing about the first presentation of AZ Factory a Karla Martinez de Salas in an interview they had in early 2021.
The woman was always the inspiration of the designer native of Casablanca, Morocco. With this collection, presented in actresses and models, ‘we have the voice of women here, and I thought it was time that we not only take photos of women, but listen to them, listen to their voices,’ declared the designer.
The beginning of AZ Factory it was quite an adventure for Alber Elbaz: ‘I quit fashion for five years and needed [ese] time to think and dream; more than anything i needed to fall in love with Fashion. I always loved the fashion industry, but I didn’t like my job anymore, so I decided I had to quit to miss him – to decide if I was in love … and I was. I went back to the past to see what was before, what is now and try to imagine the future, ‘he said in the video call. The future, as he put it in conversation, is shaped by creativity and evolution in a certain way. Nostalgia, for him, no longer had a place in his life. “I don’t want to live a nostalgic life because I think there is something sad about nostalgia – something we had and don’t have now.” With this in mind, and erasing markets from his panorama (to create for Asia or the United States or even Europe), he presented a collection divided into stories that now have a reason for being: the body in its most natural form, the activewear seen from the perspective of Haute Couture.
Alber had a philosophy about love very special —’Love comes last; first you have to respect a person and trust [en ella] because there is no love without respect or trust’— which he always applied in all his projects. Throughout his career, he maintained respect for women, whom he loved completely and respected. Together with a totally uneven team in age, who had only one thing in common, wanting to evolve by designing ‘beautiful, but also useful garments’, Alber managed that this first collection brought together all the values in which he believed and for which he advocated.
In 2021, Alber finally understood that he was not just a designer, but a producer who questions true needs. However, the latent question as to whether a revolution was necessary remained. ‘The answer is no […]. I thought of another, less aggressive approach, which is simply reset’. Alber Elbaz he wanted to restart and spread his dreams one more time because he knew we needed him one more time.