Alber Elbaz Has Passed Away

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Leah Rose Chernikoff
·2 min read
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Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images

Beloved designer Alber Elbaz, best known for his revival of Lanvin and, more recently, AZ Factory, has died at 59 following a weeks-long battle with Covid.

Richemont, the parent company of Elbaz's new line AZ Factory, confirmed the news in a statement. “It was with shock and enormous sadness that I heard of Alber’s sudden passing,” said Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert. “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.”

The Moroccan-Israeli designer served as creative director of French fashion house Lanvin from 2001 to 2015, imbuing the historic label (it was founded in 1899 by Jeanne Lanvin, making it the third-oldest fashion house in operation) with a sleek and joyous sensuality. His runway shows, generally held at night, often had the feeling of an elegant party with great music rather than a runway show. Before landing at Lanvin, Elbaz worked for Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche and YSL.

In January of this year, Elbaz announced his return to fashion with AZ Factory, a ready-to-wear line that held the notion of caring at its core. “I’ve dreamt for years about a fashion reset to care, and that dream is even more relevant today at a time when people cannot be together,” Elbaz said in a statement at the time of AZ Factory’s launch.

It was clear that in an industry that tends to prioritize trends and whatever sells over compassion, Elbaz was different. "I don't think you can be a designer if you don't care," or be creative if you are not sensitive,” he told Harper’s Bazaar in a 2007 interview. “You have to be sensitive in order to feel things and understand people."

Fashion has long been dominated by men designing for women, and Elbaz always stood out as a designer who loved and celebrated women. His designs showcased women’s form and beauty through silhouettes that were flattering and easy to wear. "I love women," he said in that same 2007 interview. "I get along with women more than men, and I have more women friends."

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