Celebrated fashion designer Alber Elbaz dies at the age of 59

Alber Elbaz
Alber Elbaz

Alber Elbaz, the celebrated Moroccan-born fashion designer perhaps best known for his revival of the legendary Lanvin fashion house, has died in Paris at the age of just 59.

Elbaz, who moved to Israel as a child, died at the American Hospital in the French capital and the cause of his death has not been revealed. It is believed he had been suffering with Covid-19.

A statement has been released by Richemont, the Swiss-based luxury conglomerate that backed his most recent venture AZ Factory.

Its chairman Johann Rupert said: “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.

“It was a great privilege watching Alber in his last endeavour as he worked to realise his dreams of ‘smart fashion that cares’. His inclusive vision of fashion made women feel beautiful and comfortable by blending traditional craftsmanship with technology – highly innovative projects which sought to redefine the 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.

“On a personal note I would like to add that I have lost not only a colleague but a beloved friend. Rest in peace Alber.”

Elbaz was credited with taking the once-tired fashion house Lanvin on a stellar journey from 2001 to 2015 but ended up falling out with the company’s majority shareholder Shaw-Lan Wang and left the business. The brand’s sales slumped following his departure and it was eventually acquired by Chinese group Forsun.

Albez, whose career also includes stints at Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent, took a career break. He occasionally collaborated with brands, such as Tod’s, and at the end of 2019 was back with AZ Factory. The brand aimed to fuse technology with fashion and bring luxury to a wider audience at more accessible prices.

At the start of this year, AZ Factory made a “digital and entertainment-driven” debut on luxury platforms Farfetch and Net-A-Porter. The launch included talks with Elbaz and a digital “world tour” of the AZ Factory to allow consumers to explore the brand in 3D.

Of the launch, Elbaz said: “I’ve dreamt for years about a fashion reset to care, and that dream is even more relevant today at a time when people cannot be together. The world is changing fast, and we are all adapting to new behaviours and emotions.”