Former Lanvin creative director, Alber Elbaz, passed away from COVID-19 on Saturday in Paris. He was 59 years old. The news of Elbaz’s passing was confirmed by Swiss luxury group Richemont, which jointly launched AZ Factory with Elbaz.
“It was with shock and enormous sadness that I heard of Alber’s sudden passing. 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,” said Richemont chairman Johann Rupert.
Elbaz was born in Morocco and received his education in Israel. Elbaz then worked his way up the ranks in the fashion industry from running a small dressmaker’s shop in New York City to later serving at the helm of Guy Laroche and then Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche in Paris in the late 1990s.
Elbaz was let go from the label after a few seasons amid a takeover by the Gucci Group and Tom Ford.
Elbaz later landed the role of creative director at Lanvin, where he went onto transform the couture house into one of the most coveted labels in the luxury space. Lanvin, at its peak, generated more than €235 million in sales.
During his 14-year tenure, Elbaz became known for his “woman-first” approach. His looks conveyed the authority behind the Paris catwalk but were easy to wear for the everyday client.
Elbaz left Lanvin in 2015 over disputes with Shaw-Lan Wang, the previous owner of the luxury house. His departure led to his five-year hiatus from the industry, but then he later made his return in January 2021 with the launch of AZ Factory with one goal in mind: to create an inclusive label that removed the fast pace and financial pressures of the fashion industry.
“Alber will be greatly missed by all of us who had the good fortune to know him or work with him. On behalf of all of my colleagues at Richemont and AZ Factory, I wish to extend our sincerest condolences to his family and friends,” said Rupert. “On a personal note I would like to add that I have lost not only a colleague but a beloved friend.”