"WE CREATED A DREAM"- THE ALBER ELBAZ STORY
A true fashion Inspirer!
Following up from Giulia Brandimati's piece on Lanvin and H&M's latest collaboration, I think it's time to meet the man behind the fashion house.
Alber Elbaz is best known for his work at Lanvin, as creative director and currently the French fashion houses collaboration with H&M. The Moroccan born Elbaz’s past employers are enough to make any fashionista green with envy, with Yves Saint Laurent and Geoffrey Beene just to mention a few! These are just the start to why Elbaz is a true fashion ‘Inspirer’.
From a young age Elbaz developed a love for drawing and when he and his family moved to Israel, he was constantly inspired by his artistic mother, who was a painter. She is said to be one of his main influences and as Elbaz grew up surrounded by art, his artistic spark was lit. Drawing every minute he had free, he once said that “the sketching of dresses was about fantasy and dreams.” At these early stages in his life he was obsessed with woman’s fashion and drew his school teacher in class time in beautiful gowns.
After serving time in the Israeli Defence Force, a world away from his now envious lifestyle, he enrolled to do fashion design at the Shenkar College of Textile Technology and Fashion in Israel. Sketching and designing every minute he had spare was his escapism form his small family home in Israel, bringing his dreams and creations to life on paper.
Finally after discovering his real passion in fashion design, Elbaz moved to New York in 1986 where he began working for award winning tailoring fashion god, Geoffrey Beene.
Alber was inspired by the way Beene was constantly rebelling against the American fashion establishment and taking the boundaries of fashion to a new level. Being involved with such a prestigious fashion house early on is something some of us will only ever dream of. Beene’s influence on Elbaz is still apparent today in his designs; he is still passionate for gorgeous tailoring and intricate ruffle detailing.
After adding a few more fashion houses to the Elbaz C.V he was later offered a job at Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) designing for the woman’s ready-to-wear collection, describing this job opportunity as a realisation of his life’s dream.
After YSL was taken over by the Gucci Group, Tom Ford the then Gucci’s creative director kicked Elbaz to the curb and took on all design responsibilities for himself.
I think I speak for the whole of the fashion world when I say thank the universe that Elbaz didn’t give up. Pursuing his fashion dream, being a true believer in karma and he once quoted the great Ghandi saying “at the end of our lives we will be sorry only for what we have no done. So if you do a lot, you go through a lot.” If he hadn’t gone through what he describes as a sorry time being fired from YSL, he would not be the fierce design icon he is today.
Bringing the world timeless, feminine pieces in the finest fabrics the world has to offer through Lanvin, he has housed his dreams on fashion stages for almost 10 years. Creating his dreams through clothing makes him feel good, once describing his job like a doctor “A doctor will give you a tablet if you have a headache and I will give you a dress and we both make you feel good.”
Not only does designing make him happy, it makes the woman who wear his designs happy and that is all he wants. Unlike many designers and ego maniacs we read about in magazines, for him seeing real woman in boutiques or walking down the street looking fabulous in his designs are equally as moving as seeing his designs on the red carpet; for Elbaz it’s more about making woman feel good about themselves saying “(if) she looks good and she looks at herself in a different way; then it is no longer about the dress but how she feels. That touches me and it moves me”.
Elbaz’s mentality towards fashion and his real passion for all things feminine is something that should be celebrated and through Lanvin’s current collaboration with H&M he can now celebrate his dream to a larger audience, he described the collaboration as creating a dream and it’s obvious that he has achieved this by the stunning previews of the line.
Not only has he been creating fashion dreams, Elbaz noticed a niche in the fashion market. Telling a heartwarming story about a young girl wanting to wear her grandma’s couture dress and how the young girl’s mother also wanted to wear it (and who can blame her, couture Lanvin yes please grandma!), he said one of his inspirations behind the line was the fact that he has a feeling that mothers want to wear their daughters clothes and daughters want to wear their grandmothers clothes, which he believes is quite bizarre but also reflects that keeping fashion beautiful and simple appeals to woman of all ages.
Elbaz’s love for woman is apparent in his gorgeous pieces where beautiful flower patterns are accompanied by classic shapes and feminine ruffles to create timeless pieces; he is inspired by all types of woman no matter age or appearance. He said he’s inspired by woman he has met and those that he wants to meet saying “it’s actually people; we’re always working around human beings which I find very, very inspiring.”
He is a true fashion ‘Inspirer’ and his celebration of woman of all types is inspirational and something the fashion world should take note of. Not only have his unique fashion pieces put their stamp on the fashion world, but his dreams and inspirations have made him a real inspiration to us all not only as a designer but as a person too.