Alber Elbaz breathed life into his designs with his love for fashion that stayed richly colored till the very end of his exemplary career. His sudden departure at just 59 leaves much to be wished for. Far from the elitist crowd of designers, Elbaz was known for his affable personality. The designer had an unflinching charm and an obvious aura of warmth around him, so much so that his legacy lives on beyond his work. His career spread over delicately crafted designs in unique silhouettes and burnished materials. His designs cut a compromise between powerful and pristine. Elbaz handled clothes with a delicate flair and made them relatable and flattering for women everywhere.
Born in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1961, Elbaz moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, when he turned 10. At a young age, he had a penchant for art and could be found with his sketches. But the decision to enroll in the fashion design course at the Shenkar College of Textile Technology came on a whim. Elbaz later embarked upon a journey to make himself a name in New York, the fabled city of dreams. He came to the city with one bag full of clothes and another full of aspirations. He bagged a job under the renowned Geoffrey Beene.
After honing his skills under his mentor, Elbaz was ready to take on bigger roles, and he fit right in when he moved to Paris and landed a top position at Guy Laroche in 1996. Two years later, in 1998, he was roped in as a creative designer for Yves Saint Laurent’s ready-to-wear womenswear collection. But a major heartbreak found Elbaz within its clutches as the budding designer was dumped by Tom Ford, without any prelude, in the most shattering manner.
After this, Alber Elbaz fashion designer took his time to find himself and visiting India helped him. The designer was touched by the humility of the people who seemed happy with whatever they had and in that exuded a greater elegance than anyone else. In 2001 he took up the mantle of creative director for the couture house Lavin, headed by the Taiwanese tycoon Sha-Lan Wang. Alber Elbaz fashion designer was the reason for the French brand’s transformation from a couture house with lackluster profits to a celebrated luxury brand. With Lavin, Elbaz went on to experiment with full artistic freedom and create pieces that spoke to the fashion choices of real women. He had a natural knack to understand what women wanted and gave them just that. He excelled not just across the editorial value of his haute couture collections but also as the commercial mainstay of Lavin up until 2015.
A fashion designer par excellence, he crafted clothes that swaddled elegance and dynamism. His clothes brought out all the femininity of a woman without overdoing it into an ostentatious display. Alber always believed that women have in them a strength that weaves itself firmly around their delicate femininity. For him, women were fragile yet powerful, an enigma that lent them much of their beauty. And Elbaz captured that through raw edges, ornamented silks with jewels cascading down, and heavily exposed zippers.
All throughout his career, Elbaz kept reinventing Lavin and sought to create for the women around him who pushed him to translate luxury into wearable reality. The fashion designer never created for the sake of doing so. He believed that real fashion should translate into real clothes that work beyond the runway. But he also stood by the idea that luxury fashion must keep challenging itself to push out innovative clothes every season.
He lent to the precept of originality and emotional connect, and for this reason alone, Elbaz went on to launch a modest collection for the masses that carried his craft across a wider audience. He collaborated with H&M for a capsule collection in 2010 and made his designs available at a more economical price. Elbaz never upheld the absolute monolithic vision of his peers; he believed in opening up to the possibilities of the market, whether it was expanding to a new label or starting a more democratic line. The fashion designer even launched a new label called “AZ Factory” in 2019. Celebrities from Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, and Sarah Jessica Parker to Michelle Obama have worn Elbaz’s designs. He remains a designer with multiple accolades for his craft that encompasses the length and breadth of the fashion world.
The legacy that the late Alber Elbaz fashion designer has left behind will live on in the confident stride of every woman who feels the embrace of his clothes and celebrates her beauty through fashion. His value lies in his ability to hold all things with realness and create clothes that feel deeply personal. Elbaz and his inevitable talent would always be remembered as something that worked exclusively to cater to the everyday experiences of women and bring them comfort.