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 released by Richemont, the holding company that backs Elbaz’s latest fashion undertaking, AZ Factory.
“I have lost not only a colleague but a beloved friend,” Richemont founder and chairman Johann Rupert said in the statement shared with WWD. “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 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 helmed the brand for 14 years. From 2001 to 2015, Elbaz revived the maison, transforming it into a global powerhouse brand with his modern designs for slinky cocktail dresses and colorful, feminine clothing. Previous to his work at Lanvin, Elbaz held posts at Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche, and Yves Saint Laurent. He was unceremoniously dropped from the fashion house in October 2015, claiming he’d had disagreements with Shaw-Lan wang, a lead shareholder at the company. In 2021, Elbaz launched AZ Factory, a brand that focuses on elevated basics and technical knits.
The designer was much loved by those in the fashion industry for his wit, sharp humor, and ebullient personality. On Sunday morning following the news of Elbaz’s death, scores of brands and members of the fashion industry mourned his passing and shared stories from his life on social media. Lanvin, for its part, posted a photograph on Instagram with the caption, “Merci Alber” with the white heart emoji.