Alber Elbaz was born on June 12, 1961 in Casablanca, Morocco. He immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of 10 and grew up in Holon. After serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, he studied at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan. His life partner is Alex Koo, Lanvin's director of marketing.
In 1985, Elbaz moved to New York City and spent two years working for a manufacturer of mother-of-the-bride clothing, George F Couture. He then worked for Geoffrey Beene for seven years. He says he was influenced by Beene's rejection of trends and masterful drape and fit. "It was a very beautiful relationship.... Our best dialogue was not in words," Elbaz has reminisced.
In 1997, Elbaz left Beene and, through retailer Dawn Mello, was hired by the firm of Guy Laroche. But, by the time of Elbaz's arrival, the Laroche enterprise had become overly conservative and lackluster. Even so, Elbaz was able to update the collection and somewhat enhance the image of the firm, whose activities at the time included the management of 15 boutiques and 70 license agreements worldwide. However, he departed within a year, 1998, and began designing ready-to-wear women's clothing for Yves Saint Laurent, because Saint-Laurent himself wished to withdraw from his hands-on design of prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear). In the position, Elbaz's talent was recognized, and he was groomed to become the head designer of the house when Saint Laurent retired. This was not to happen, because the Gucci Group purchased YSL Rive Gauche, the ready-to-wear label, and Gucci design director Tom Ford dismissed Elbaz after three collections. Elbaz instead began working for Krizia in Italy and designed a well-received inaugural collection.
Art and graphics
In October 2001, Elbaz was appointed artistic director of Lanvin in Paris. In August 2001, the company was purchased by investor group Harmonie S.A., led by Shaw-Lan Wang, a Taiwanese media magnate, who hired Elbaz. In 2006, he introduced new packaging for the fashion house, featuring a light forget-me-not blue color, a favorite shade which Lanvin purportedly had seen in a Fra Angelico fresco. Packaging included shopping bags imprinted with Paul Iribe's 1907 illustration of Lanvin and her daughter Marguerite, and shoe boxes designed like antique library files, tied with black ribbons to emphasize the precious nature of the product.
In 2012, Elbaz published a book of 3,000 photographs documenting the work of Lanvin.
Awards and recognition
- International Award, Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), June 2005
- Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur, Paris, January 25, 2007
- One of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, 2007
Elbaz's simple, feminine clothing, which has been compared to Lanvin's 1920s outfits, has been lauded by the fashion press. Suzy Menkes wrote: "Elbaz is every woman's darling. And that includes Nicole, Kate, Chloë Sevigny, Sofia Coppola and a slew of rising movie names."
- "The Tatler List". Tatler.
- "Couture for Everyday". LUX Magazine. September 2013.
- Lanvin's Facebook page
- Vogue's Alber Elbaz Biography
- The New Yorker:Profil Alber Ebaz
- The Time 100, Natalie Portman
- Suzy Menkes, International Herald Tribune, May 24, 2005
- The Inside Story of a Couture Dream in the Making
- The Time 100, Natalie Portman May 03, 2007
- "At Lanvin, a master of improvisation", Suzy Menkes, International Herald Tribune, May 24, 2005
- Alber Elbaz at the Fashion Model Directory
- Lanvin collaborates with Acne for a 2009 jean collection, JCReport
- Alber Elbaz collaborates with H&M, VOGUE.COM UK