Luxury fashion company, Richemont, has sadly confirmed the death of designer Alber Elbaz, who was best known for spending 14 years heading up France’s Lanvin fashion house as creative director from 2001 to 2015.
Aged only 59, Elbaz passed away in a Paris hospital on Saturday due to COVID-19. According to WWD, he is the second famous fashion figure to succumb to the virus, with it claiming Japanese fashion maverick, Kenzo Takada, last October.
“It was with shock and enormous sadness that I heard of Alber’s sudden passing,” Richemont chairman, Johann Rupert, said in a statement. “Alber had a richly deserved reputation as one of the industry’s brightest and most beloved figures. I was always taken by his intelligence, sensitivity, generosity and unbridled creativity.”
Among Elbaz’s creations were Meryl Streep’s dress that she wore when she accepted her 2012 Oscar. Other celebrity fans included the likes of Kate Moss, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Demi Moore and Gwyneth Paltrow.
He also dabbled in beauty, with the Lancôme Show by Alber Elbaz collection becoming an iconic release of 2013.
The designer was born in Morocco and raised and educated in Israel, and he moved to New York in the mid-1980s. He launched his fashion career in 1985, working alongside designer Geoffrey Beene as his senior assistant for seven years.
In 1996, Elbaz became design director at Guy Laroche in Paris, before moving on to Yves Saint Laurent as creative director of its ready-to-wear brand, Rive Gauche in 1998.
After eventually landing at Lanvin in 2001, Elbaz catapulted the small, privately-held company to become a top Paris fashion house. The rejuvenation of the brand was built on a woman-first approach, with his elegant, feminine designs and pulse-pounding runway shows paving the way.
From 2019 until his passing, Elbaz was working on a fashion joint venture with Richemont, called AZ Factory - a company aimed at producing smart women’s fashion by combining traditional craftsmanship with technology.