Alber Elbaz

Alber Elbaz biography

Born: Casablanca, Morocco, 1961

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.

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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