Alber Elbaz, Forever in Our Hearts.

The saddest and most heart-breaking news on a Sunday. Alber Elbaz, who made his name at brands like Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent, and spent a 14-year spell rejuvenating Lanvin, has died at the age of 59 at the American Hospital in Paris. “I have lost not only a colleague but a beloved friend,” Richemont (the conglomerate backing Elbaz’s latest venture, AZ Factory) founder and chairman Johann Rupert said in a statement published today. “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. He was a man of exceptional warmth and talent, and his singular vision, sense of beauty and empathy leave an indelible impression.” The Moroccan-born visionary is best known for Lanvin’s striking renaissance during his 2001 to 2015 tenure at the French house. There, he dressed women in the most chic, and at the same time always comfortable and body-friendly, day- and evening-wear. His abrupt split from the brand, which saw him forced to defend his work and leadership style, was well-documented, and Elbaz subsequently took a five-year hiatus. Returning to fashion with innovative AZ Factory on the spring/summer 2021 couture schedule with a fresh perspective and a modern brand proposition, the industry was overjoyed to welcome back one of its leading creatives, who always imbued his work with such joy and put the focus squarely on making individuals feel special. The legacy of this unique designer will forever stay alive in his timeless designs, and the Alber Elbaz woman will always feel her best self while wearing one of his all-time signature looks: a pyjama silk shirt printed with his frivolous illustations, a chiffon ball-skirt and layers, layers of pearls. His brilliant work and ebullient presence will be sorely missed.

Here are some of my favourite Alber Elbaz moments, from his most iconic looks at Yves Saint Laurent and Lanvin to my mum wearing one of his dress for New Year’s Eve few years ago…

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki. Front photo by Tim Walker. Ad campaigns by Steven Meisel and Tim Walker.

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