Moroccan-born, Israeli designer Alber Elbaz passed away April 24 due to Covid-19 complications. The announcement was made via Swiss Luxury house Richemont, the investors in Elbaz’s latest venture AZ Factory, the solo label that marked his comeback after a long hiatus. Known for resuscitating the oldest Parisian brand Lanvin, Alber’s most significant work came out of his 15-years-long (2001-2015) tenure at the design house.
During his reign as the creative director, Alber Elbaz transformed the couture label with his artistic take on cocktail dresses and his female-friendly design approach. His infamous drapes in jewel tones remain to be a signature style that is still associated with the brand. As an ode to the designer’s inimitable legacy, here are the top eight iconic looks created by him that ELLE loves.
1. Yves Saint Laurent Fall-Winter Collection, 2000
After a couple of small-time gigs in New York, Alber moved to Paris in 1996 and landed his first big job at Guy Laroche. After two years at the French house, he was appointed as the creative director of Yves Saint Laurent by its co-founder Pierre Bergé. For his third runway collection, he designed this brass coloured lamé suit with a black chiffon blouse, which was a standout piece amongst YSL’s all-black trademark looks.
2. Lanvin Fall-Winter Collection, 2002
After his departure from YSL in 1999, Alber took a break from fashion for a year and joined Lanvin in 2001 as its creative head. Right from his first fashion week, he was assertive of his vision for the brand. This head-to-toe scarlet, layered look was fierce yet feminine, and it showcased his aesthetic loud and clear.
3. Lanvin Spring Collection, 2003
Elbaz’s spring/summer 2003 collection emphasised majorly on black satin ribbon and crystal jewellery. His dress-making skills were ahead of time. Case in point: this delicate black dress that suspended from the shoulder on silicone straps and accentuated the neckline with statement embellishments.
4. Tilda Swinton, Oscars 2008
In 2008, sartorial queen Tilda Swinton took home the supporting actor trophy for Michael Clayton at the academy awards in an asymmetrical, draped velvet gown by Lanvin. The actor kept it minimal-chic for the night in her matching pumps and a silver cuff, making it one of the memorable looks that year.
5. Beyoncé, MTV Awards 2011
Beyoncé first pregnant appearance in public was in this exquisite Lanvin gown. Alber created an elegant ensemble for the pop sensation to make the big announcement visually. She was dressed in a one-off-shoulder soda-orange gown; its drape appeared like a westernised version of a sari, giving the smart illusion of a concealed bump unless cradled.
6. Meryl Streep, Oscars 2012
Meryl Streep looked like a complete gold goddess in a customised Lanvin gown by Alber Elbaz while accepting an award for best actress award for The Iron Lady in 2012. The detailed metallic drapes across the garment, cascading perfectly on her frame, displayed his construction expertise and finesse.
7. Kim Kardashian, Met Gala 2014
For Kim Kardashian’s first-ever Met Gala stint as a guest in 2014, she made a show-stopping appearance in a bespoke Lanvin number. Alber created a cobalt blue, structured gown with a décolletage and pocket detail. Keeping the focus on her statuesque body, he designed an outfit that perfectly complemented the reality star’s personal style.
8. Emma Stone, Golden Globes 2015
Emma Stone stole the show at the 2015 Golden Globes in a form-fitting Lanvin Jumpsuit. The ensemble was business at the bottom and party at the top (and back). Elbaz designed an innovative one-piece, juxtaposing the encrusted half of a gown bodice and a formal tuxedo trouser. The big-black-bow with a subtle trail gave it the red carpet nod of approval.
As the fashion industry mourns the sudden loss of a visionary that was Alber Elbaz, the footprints of his craft will remain time immemorial.