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Fashion industry pays tribute to designer Alber Elbaz

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Pierre Verdy/ AFP

Tributes for the legendary fashion designer Alber Elbaz have been pouring in from the fashion community following the news of his tragic death over the weekend, following a battle with Covid-19.

Elbaz, best known for rejuvenating Lanvin during his 14-year tenure, also worked at fashion houses including Yves Saint Laurent, Geoffrey Beene, and Guy Laroche. The designer temporarily took a step back from the fashion scene, but returned to the spotlight earlier this year to launch his new label, AZ Factory, his joint venture with luxury conglomerate Richemont.

AZ Factory unveiled its debut collections with a digital presentation during Paris Haute Couture Week with a spin on the traditional fashion show, less catwalk and more an entertainment show, complete with Elbaz as a talk-show host.

There have been many tributes from the fashion industry, with Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, saying she was “heartbroken,” while Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, said that Elbaz “infuse his soul into his work by creating an aesthetic that spoke so loudly of his colourful, sparkling, and intense joy de vivre” and Giambattista Valli remembered the designer’s “beautiful mind and effortlessly cultivated attitude for life”.

AZ Factory say goodbye to their founder

A statement from the AZ Factory Team, said: “It is with extremely heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our founder, Alber Elbaz. The power of his vision, his extraordinary imagination, his adoration of women, and his kind heart have fueled his latest gift to our lives: AZ Factory. He lived for fashion, and we were all so lucky to have been a part of this adventure, Alber’s project to reset fashion to care.

“Alber, we will all carry your mission in our hearts, and your generosity in our lives. The world has lost a legend. We love you, Alber.”

Conglomerate Richemont remember Elbaz’s “intelligence, sensitivity, generosity and unbridled creativity”

Richemont chairman Johann Rupert, said in a statement: “It was with shock and enormous sadness that I heard of Alber’s sudden passing. Alber had a richly deserved reputation as one of the industry’s brightest and most beloved figures. I was always taken by his intelligence, sensitivity, generosity and unbridled creativity. He was a man of exceptional warmth and talent, and his singular vision, sense of beauty and empathy leave an indelible impression.

“It was a great privilege watching Alber in his last endeavour as he worked to realise his dreams of ‘smart fashion that cares’. 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.

“Alber will be greatly missed by all of us who had the good fortune to know him or work with him. On behalf of all of my colleagues at Richemont and AZ Factory, I wish to extend our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. On a personal note I would like to add that I have lost not only a colleague but a beloved friend. Rest in peace Alber.”

Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode calls Elbaz a “great talent”

In a tribute to Elbaz, the French fashion body Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, praised the designer, saying that his “great talent, his generosity, his human warmth and his sense of femininity made him a unique figure in the world of fashion and creation”.

The statement added: “Alber Elbaz has offered us unique aesthetic moments on the catwalk and throughout his career. We will particularly miss his bubbling creativity, his joyful vision of fashion and his willingness to constantly redefine it.”

Ralph Toledano, president of the French fashion body Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, made his own tribute, saying: “Alber Elbaz had an immense talent. He put love and humanity at the centre of his work. He had an absolute and driving desire for modernity. He felt things better than anyone else and took the time and distance to reinvent his fashion work between know-how and innovation. He was my brother by heart.”

LVMH says fashion has lost one of its “brightest” designers

On social media, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault said: “With the sudden passing of Alber Elbaz, the fashion industry has lost one of its brightest and most sensitive designers. His creativity, both irreverent and elegant, will forever be remembered.”

Fashion designers take to Instagram to pay respects to Alber Elbaz

British designer Stella McCartney took to Instagram to pay her respects to the late designer, saying: “I interrupt our Greenpeace pledge to pay the greatest of respects to my dear friend, Alber. He was a light like no other in the world. In fashion, his immense talent shone so bright that it tore up the conventions and wrapped a million souls in happiness when they wore his creations.

“I will miss you sir very, very much. We all will. My love is being sent to your beloved family as they try to come to terms with such an immense loss. Thank you for making this world a better and brighter place… I love you. x”

Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, said: “Alber. Yesterday the world of fashion has lost one of its biggest treasure and I’ve lost a true, honest, special friend. When I moved my first step as a creative director he welcomed me as no other did. He was able to infuse his soul into his work by creating an aesthetic that spoke so loudly of his colourful, sparkling, and intense joy de vivre.

“I will miss him, but I will find relief by admiring the legacy of his work that will remember to all of us how huge his talent was and how his vision of beauty, his human approach to fashion will always remain peerless. Ciao Alber, keep on inspiring all of us. Thank you for all you have done. It will stay with us.”

Maria Grazia Chiuri, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs and Pierpaolo Piccioli share touching tributes to Alber Elbaz

Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri commented on her social media: “Heartbroken by the news of the passing of my dear friend Alber. I will never forget how generous, talented, loving he was. He was the first person who made me feel at home in the fashion industry. His favourite word was love and it’s with this word I will always remember him.”

Marc Jacobs said alongside a picture of a paper Alber Elbaz: “Rest In Peace dear Alber. This terrible news. So tragic. You were always good to me, and, I have always admired you for your kindness, your vision, your creativity and extraordinary talent.

“We spoke and what’s app’d only recently and the announcements of your death come as a true shock.”

Designer Peter Dundas added on Instagram: “RIP Alber? I am so sad to learn of the passing of Alber Elbaz from Covid 19. Such a talented designer and a great showman He was always so friendly, supportive of us his fellow designers and such fun to be with whenever our paths crossed. Rest in GREATNESS sweet Alber.”

Giambattista Valli, shared a touching tribute, alongside a picture of the two designers embracing: “At the time we could kiss ….it was at your “legion d’honneur”…we could happily laugh without masks and hug with pure friendship and love. I will hug, kiss and love you forever, my dear friend….your beautiful mind and effortlessly cultivated attitude for life will be living forever in my soul. Bon Voyage Albert.”

AZ Factory