Alber Elbaz, the designer best known for his feminine, whimsical collections at Lanvin, has suddenly died at the age of 59. Industry sources say Elbaz was ill with Covid-19 for three weeks. Elbaz had only recently launched AZ Factory, backed by Swiss-based luxury group Richemont.
“We are devastated – Alber passed away from Covid after being in hospital for three weeks – so tragic,” Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont, told journalist Suzy Menkes. “I have lost not only a colleague but a beloved friend.”
In a statement Rupert said: “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 endeavor as he worked to realize his dream 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,” he added.
Elbaz was born in Casablanca and studied fashion in Israel. He previously held positions at Geoffrey Beene and Yves Saint Lauren before revamping the house of Lanvin. When Elbaz fell out with Lanvin’s Taiwanese owner Shaw-Lan Wang in 2015, an acrimonious split was inevitable. In an interview with Vogue the following year Elbaz said he spent months crying and walking the streets of Paris. A new project that launched into a bonafide label, backed by Richemont, reignited Elbaz’s fire: “We need to make the system work for us and not be slaves to it,” Elbaz said at a Conde Nast luxury conference. “Ideas start with intuition and fears, which is the essence of creation.”
At AZ Factory, Elbaz set for a mission to produce smart fashion that cares. “We design beautiful, practical, and solutions-driven fashion that works for everyone. Our products are here to solve problems and create joy.”