Alber Elbaz

Born: Casablanca, Morocco, 1961
Died: Paris, France, 2021



Alber Elbaz showed an early interest in acting having a natural talent for improvisation. He also showed interest in art and fashion with his mother encouraging his fashion sketching teaching him different ways to draw the human body.

In 1979 Elbaz started a mandatory three year period of National Service in the Israeli Army. Due to health reasons, he was put in charge of entertainment. After finishing his service Elbaz toyed with the idea of becoming an actor but instead decided on fashion enrolling in a design course at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in 1982.

After graduating, and with a financial gift from his mother, Elbaz arrived in New York in 1984 taking a job designing dresses.

In 1989 Elbaz met with Gucci’s Dawn Mello, which led to an introduction to Geoffrey Beene. Beene offered him a job and the classic couturier became his mentor.

Ralph Toledano, head of Guy Laroche, hired Elbaz in 1996 to help revive the ailing label. A virtual unknown at the time, Elbaz presented his first collection the following year.

In 1998 Yves Saint Laurent hired Elbaz to design his Rive Gauche women’s collection.  Receiving mixed reviews for his Rive Gauche collections, Elbaz was replaced in 2000 by Tom Ford. The same year he launched a new collection for Krizia.

Elbaz then took a sabbatical travelling through India and the Far East. However, his trip was cut short when he was offered the role of creative director at Lanvin. His first collection in 2002 received critical acclaim as he fused the label’s rich heritage with a unique twist.

In 2005 Elbaz was recognised by the Council of Fashion Designers of America with the International Designer Award. The same year Vogue featured him in a piece featuring seven of fashion’s most innovative designers.

To celebrate Lanvin’s 120th anniversary, Elbaz created two stamp designs for France’s postal service in 2009. The following year he designed a one-off Lanvin collection in collaboration with H&M.

Elbaz’s spring 2010 collection for Lanvin received a great deal of praise. Taking influences from Christian Lacroix, the collection showed brightly coloured short dresses in a couture style that were suitable for the ready-to-wear market.

The year 2011 witnessed the celebrated collaboration between Elbaz and H&M, resulting in a highly anticipated capsule collection that brought his signature elegance and accessible luxury to a wider audience. In 2012, Elbaz showcased his visionary designs once again, this time partnering with luxury eyewear brand Oliver Peoples to create a collection of stunning sunglasses that effortlessly blended timeless style with contemporary flair.

As 2013 unfolded, Elbaz’s creative genius was recognised with the prestigious Superstar Award at the Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars, solidifying his status as one of the industry’s most influential designers. In 2014, Elbaz marked his 10th anniversary at Lanvin, presenting a dazzling Autumn/Winter collection that paid homage to the brand’s iconic elegance while infusing it with a modern edge.

The year 2015 witnessed Elbaz’s departure from Lanvin, leaving fashion enthusiasts eagerly awaiting his next venture, the following year he collaborated with luxury fragrance house Frédéric Malle to create a unique perfume, capturing his distinctive aesthetic in a bottle.

In 2018, he made a highly anticipated return to the fashion scene, partnering with luxury conglomerate Richemont to launch his eponymous brand, AZ Factory, which sought to revolutionise the industry by merging fashion and technology. In 2019, Elbaz unveiled his debut collection for AZ Factory, showcasing innovative designs that celebrated inclusivity, comfort, and individuality.

In 2020, Elbaz was honoured with the prestigious Commander of the Legion of Honor, a testament to his significant contributions to the fashion industry. Tragically, the fashion world mourned the loss of Elbaz in 2021, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of creativity and passion. Alber Elbaz will always be remembered for his unparalleled talent, his unwavering commitment to craftsmanship, and his ability to capture the essence of modern elegance, forever influencing the fashion landscape.

Alber Elbaz has created a style that is perfectly imperfect with exquisite pieces in aging fabrics that have a romantic style. His clothes are timeless and he will often leave seams unfinished giving the expert tailor’s work a distinct charm.

Alber Elbaz biography


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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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