Alber Elbaz Dies At Age 59 | His Career And His Legacy



Designer Alber Elbaz died on Saturday in Paris, after three weeks of battling Covid-19. The emblematic designer was known for his outstanding work at the front of Lanvin from 2001 and 2015, in which he transformed the French house. 


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The Fashion Industry is mourning the loss of Alber Elbaz, who died on Saturday in the American Hospital in Paris, at the age of 59, after battling  COVID-19 for three weeks. He was best known for the rejuvenation of French House Lanvin, from 2001 until 2015. His death was confirmed by the Swiss conglomerate Richemont, with whom he was working on his latest venture, AZ Factory. 


“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.”  Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont, said. 


“What can I do for a woman to make life better and easier?” 


Alber Elbaz’s designs always answered. The Fashion Industry is mourning the loss of a designer, who was known not only for his beautiful garments, but someone who as also “a friend to all”. Scrolling down the many news about his death, there is something that is a constant: Alber Elbaz was a beloved figure, a caring character and an innovative soul, whose early departure is heavy on many of us. 

Elbaz was born in Casablanca, but had an Israeli nationality. He studied design in the Shenkar College of Design, before moving to New York to work hand in hand with big fashion names such as Geoffrey Beene. Later, he moved to France, where he worked under Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent. In 2001, he stepped up as head designer of Lanvin, rejuvenating the French House with his audacious designs and cutting-edge ideas. His innovations included pre-washed textiles and unfinished edges, dresses made of a single swathe of textile and fastened with visible zippers. His time in Lanvin can be defined as an epitome of sophistication and a great success in sales. 


His rejuvenation of the brand was built around women as protagonists, in a brand that was largely dependent on men’s wear. He was best known for his marvelous cocktail dresses, that were not just beautiful, but also created to make women feel confortable in them. “It was just about giving ease to women”, he said of his dresses with industrial zippers.  In 2015 is career in Lanvin came to a sudden end; after which he decided to take a five years hiatus form the Fashion Industry.


“Alber Elbaz had an immense talent. He put love and humanity at the centre of his work. He had an absolute and driving desire for modernity. He felt things better than anyone else and took the time and distance to reinvent his fashion work between know-how and innovation. He was my brother by heart.” Said Ralph Toledo, President de la Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.


After being away from the Fashion Industry, he came back on this 2021 Spring Season with his new venture AZ-Fashion, a new project based on re-thinking the fundaments of the Fashion Industry. His first collection, showcased last January during Paris Fashion Week, displayed designs equally sophisticated as functionals. AZ-Fashion is backed by the Swiss fashion conglomerate Richemont.



“How can I make a woman more beautiful?”, was a question that Elbaz dedicated his career to answer, and was shown in his designs. His generosity towards women and their bodies is an ideal that will stay with us, as well as his exuberant personality. In his latest venture, AZ-Factory, he worked embracing a better version of body positivity, offering a wide variety of sizes, from XXS to XXXXL, using technology with environmental responsibility always present. 

He was among the leading fashion figures who have died of COVID-19, who include Kenzo Takada and Sergio Rossi. 


+  Words: Leila Salinas, Luxiders Magazine 

Journalist | Berlin-based 

Connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram (@leisalinas)