Alber Elbaz dies at the age of 59 | Read Sarah Mower’s Tribute to Vogue
The crushing shock of the death of Alber Elbaz of Covid-19, the loss to his family, to all who worked for him, to the women he loved and to those to whom he brought so much joy through his clothes is incalculable. Of all the designers in the world today, Alber was one whose entire creative modus operandi was based on the warmth of his emotional intelligence and empathy, his ability to see through the absurdities of fashion and free women from them; to see us as friends. Whether you knew him or not, his thoughtful, witty, and insightful character – his honest, spontaneous, and metaphorical way of illuminating every conversation – made every listener feel like they had a two-way personal relationship with him. “We are not here to transform women, we are here to give them a hug” he recently said.
“We are not here to transform women, we are here to give them a hug”
This uplifting, heartwarming and inimitably inspiring remark came during a Zoom conversation with Alber in january, the last time i spoke to him with my colleague Nicole phelps, global director of Vogue Track. He foresaw his long-awaited return with the launch of AZ Factory. Her new brand has promised a whole new way to hack the woes of the fashion system to give women a modern ‘solution-based’ collection – making her departure even more terrifyingly heartbreaking.
AZ Factory spring-summer 2021
Â© Courtesy of AZ Factory
To do justice to his accomplishments, to measure his contributions to fashion, to contain so many indelible memories of such a complex talent in a single narrative is an extremely impossible task. His uniqueness, I think, came from the way he positioned his role as a designer: not as a genius snatching big concepts out of the air and dictating them, but as an ally who put all the bells and whistles on them. powers of her art and her social vision at the service of the lived experience of women. “To embrace all that concerns the present and the life of women, to give joy” as he said so eloquently.
Down to earth, humble in a way, that equates to brilliance. Internet is full of Alber-ism. He was an excellent video communicator, an entertaining artist who fused the funny and the serious in the same running commentary; a challenger and questioner of the speed of the industry, an advocate of practical analog skills and intimacy who took charge of every development of the soaring digital and scientific information, always bringing it back to its values-centered values. people. The way he talked about dressing women for awards Vogue The Voices video in 2013 says all about the tenderness of her use of fashion as a weapon of courage: âWhen you do a ‘red carpet‘ and all you see is interest in a bag, necklace and pair of earrings, you are missing out on the essential. I want to see the women. I want to understand who they are. “ His task, he said, was to âMake the dress disappear. It is exactly like in architecture. When you walk into a room, even if it’s a very good architect, you don’t mean “beautiful architecture”. You almost want to give the impression that nothing has been done. I have to make a piece which will disappear in the end. All I want to see is the woman’s face â.
The meaning of what Alber contributed will not disappear – neither from the history of fashion, nor from the wardrobes of the women who have continued to wear and cherish her clothes. I first got to know Alber in 2002, in his first season as Creative Director of Lanvin in Paris. It was one of those visceral moments where you know a designer is about to shake fashion on its axis. Everything about the sensibility that made women love is there: jewelry cascading down the bodices of dresses and coats, raw-edged chiffon cleverly draped and tied into ballerina dresses as if they had just come together. produce; the high realism of its chic cut. “Walking the finest of lines between the panache of design and desirable adult clothing … by creating a beautiful compromise between the fierce and the feminine”, I wrote after the show on the way back to my laptop.
Alber Elbaz, after the presentation of the Lanvin Fall / Winter 2002-2003 show
Â© Michel Euler / AP / Shutterstock
At the time, Lanvin was not much. Alber putting the house on the front of the stage in Paris, transforming it into a burning entity, enriching the vocabulary of this first season so that women begin to flock to its stores. Always, there were her âforeverâ dresses, casual flourishes of puffy taffeta and flowing volumes of silk; crystal jewelry integrated into necklines; thick zippers secured in grosgrain bands; pencil dresses and wrap coats. As thrilling as it was to watch, it was all completely in tune with the destination of women – always created with all of her wit of purpose and practicality in mind.
He would sometimes explain his approach during conversational show-and-tell sessions to reporters in a living room in the Hotel de Crillon during Paris Fashion Week. He showed how he thought of creating clothes that could be adapted to the changing and changing demands of women’s lives. He asked for opinions. He spoke about what he had learned from friends who spoke of the daily pressure of juggling kids, working, and going into cocktails and dinners while trying to appear completely together in the space of time. ‘a half hour. Designers often talk about being inspired by ‘love women’. AlberLove was the kind who really saw them.
His beautifully empathetic applied expertise did not come out of nowhere. Back to Lanvin – the term that ended in 2015 – Alber had been to Yves Saint Laurent woman from 1998 to 2001, at Guy Laroche before that, and he had arrived in Paris after working at Geoffrey beene in New York since 1989. He had over a decade of haute couture culture under his belt by the time he came to express his own vision at Lanvin.
Alber Elbaz at the end of the Yves Saint Laurent Fall / Winter 1999-2000 show
Â© Swimming pool SIMON / STEVENS
But really, it all started since Alber like a child. Born in 1961 in Casablanca, Morocco, Alberthe parents had emigrated with the family to Holon, a town outside Tel Aviv, Israel, when he was eight months old. Her father worked as a hair colorist. He told me once the most touching story I think I have ever heard from a designer about their first memory of being interested in clothes. âWe didn’t have any money for toys. The only thing my parents had in the house was a game of chess. When I was little I took my dad’s silver foil and started making dresses for all the chess pieces – I created characters for them and played with them for hours. .
At school, he draws fashion photos inspired by his beloved teacher in his book. Eventually he studied at Shenkar College of Textile Technology and Fashion, but not before completing national service in the Israel Defense Forces. The story of how young people Alber His days in the military were as revealing of the creative originality and kindness of the man he was to become as anything he had ever told me. âI had asthma, so they put me in charge of entertaining the soldiers. I saw how many of them were alone away from home – and I saw how many women were alone in the homes for the elderly â. he’s laughing. âSo what I did was get them together and do dances every week. And everyone was happy!
It is impossible to imagine how many people around the world must have been touched by the happiness that Alber Elbaz brought back to life during his 59 years. Above all, thoughts are with the terrible loss suffered by Alex koo, his life partner. The fashion world must Alber the greatest debt of gratitude for all he has given. His memory will be cherished by those of us who were lucky enough to know him – and surely by all who loved to wear his clothes – far into the future.
This article originally appeared on British Vogue
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