Alber Elbaz, the beloved Lanvin designer and exuberant creative director, has died. He was 59 years old.
His death was due to Covid-19, according to a statement from Richemont, the holding company that supports Elbaz’s youngest fashion company, AZ Factory.
“I lost not only a colleague, but a dear friend as well,” Richemont founder and chairman Johann Rupert said in the statement shared with WWD. “Alber had a well-deserved reputation as one of the brightest and most beloved personalities in the business. I have always been fascinated by his intelligence, sensitivity, generosity and unbridled creativity. He was a man of extraordinary warmth and talent, and his unique vision, sense of beauty and empathy leave an indelible mark. It was a great privilege to watch Alber on his final endeavor as he worked to realize his dream of “smart fashion that cares”. “
Elbaz, who was born in Morocco and is of Moroccan-Israeli descent, was best known for his role as Creative Director of Lanvin, where he ran the brand for 14 years. From 2001 to 2015 Elbaz revived the house and made it a global powerhouse brand with its modern designs for creeping cocktail dresses and colorful, feminine clothing. Before joining Lanvin, Elbaz worked for Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent. He was unceremoniously fired from the fashion house in October 2015, claiming he had disagreements with Shaw-Lan Wang, a major shareholder in the company. In 2021 Elbaz launched AZ Factory, a brand that focuses on upscale basics and technical knitwear.
The designer was very much loved by the fashion industry for his wit, sharp humor and lively personality. On the Sunday morning after the news of Elbaz’s death, numerous brands and members of the fashion industry mourned him and shared stories from his life on social media. For his part, Lanvin posted a photo on Instagram entitled “Merci Alber” with the white heart emoji.