5 oct 2021

AZ Factory and 44 great designers come together to pay a magnificent tribute to Alber Elbaz

Last night, at the end of Paris Fashion Week, the fashion world paid tribute to one of its maestros : Alber Elbaz, a great designer who died last April at the age of 59. To celebrate the legacy of the man who had served fourteen years as artistic director of Lanvin, AZ Factory, the couture sportswear label he founded in 2020, organized a moving show in his honor. In the first part, a show of 45 silhouettes inspired by the Alber Elbaz style imagined by as many designers and houses, from Dior to Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Valentino and Balmain. In a second phase,  the team of the AZ Factory studio unveiled a collection in tribute to its founder. 

This Tuesday, October 25, the emotion is at its peak at the Carreau du Temple in Paris. At the end of Paris Fashion Week, the fashion world pays a vibrant tribute to Alber Elbaz, who has passed away at the age of 59. “Love brings love” was his mantra. Now, to celebrate the designer who had the art of elevating all women, forty-four of the most talented designers of our time have shown their admiration by creating a silhouette inspired by his work, before the team at AZ Factory, the tech couture label he founded in 2020, presents a show in tribute to his figurehead. An exceptional man, generous and benevolent, full of humour and love, Alber Elbaz had the art of embellishing life and touching the hearts of those he met. Fascinated by the Théâtre de la Mode, a show that in 1945 brought together more than sixty designers to relaunch French fashion at the end of the war, the former artistic director of the house of Lanvin has always dreamed of recreating this great moment of creativity and solidarity. Last night, in the presence of the greatest designers of our time as well as Brigitte Macron,  Demi Moore and Naomi Campbell, her dream came true: as the silhouettes followed one another in an explosion of colors, a real message of love, creativity and hope was written.


During the first part of the show, each of the 45 silhouettes appeared in alphabetical order of the designers and houses that were the authors, from A to Z. Imagined by Alber Elbaz himself before his death, the first look, worn by Adut Akech, naturally illustrates his vision: A black knitted dress of extreme sophistication that hugs the body to better sublimate it. The forty-four looks that followed borrowed the late designer’s distinctive signs: tender designs, playful details, hearts and bows, shiny materials or pink, his favorite color… 

For Jean Paul Gaultier,  only a heart-shaped dress was necessary “so much Alber had”. Composed of hearts of various sizes and in three dimensions, the bodycon piece sends an ultimate message of love. Wherever Pieter Mulier at Alaïa borrows this same pattern to cover the private parts in a sensual and elegant pink dress, tight and transparent, Guram Gvasalia, Artistic Director of the label Clothing, sprinkled red hearts on a supple black suit that looked like pajamas, a garment that Alber Elbaz was particularly fond of. Inspired by the fuchsia so dear to the designer, Demna Gvasalia uses it for Balenciaga on an ultra-voluminous monochrome dress adorned with a large bow and accompanied by his famous pantators. Likewise Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino made a breathtaking pink and asymmetrical dress with ruffles, worn by model Mariacarla Boscono, a tribute to the designer who had welcomed him into fashion with open arms. At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière Opt for more sobriety with a short, sleeveless dress where fuchsia shines on a satin fabric sprinkled with black embroidery, while Rick Owens summons the designer’s bright side with a monastic gown and hooded coat in a bright pale pink evening gazar. 


Theatre and partying have always meant a lot to Alber Elbaz. Thus, while Maria Grazia Chiuri unveils for Dior a beautiful tulle dress with a heart-shaped bustier and embroidered with hand-drawn drawings, including the words “I love you”, Daniel Roseberry for Schiaparelli presents a dramatic creation where a black fabric drapes elegantly around the body and halos the head, revealing a golden bustier and mask under the dress, and Giambattista Valli offers a strapless dress in black taffeta, whose wide ribbon tied at the waist underlines the swollen volume. Olivier Rousteing for Balmain and Donatella Versace for Versace celebrate the designer’s festive spirit with glamorous sequined mini dresses, while Alessandro Michele for Gucci offers a long strappy dress and matching jacket in hypnotic purple sequins, where two hearts cover the chest. Combining shiny black fur and green satin, Matthew M. Williams ‘ asymmetrical mini dress at Givenchy looks like something out of a fairy tale, while Riccardo Tisci draws on the timeless elegance of the Alber Elbaz style for Burberry with a silky beige dress adorned with a sensual shoulder jewel.


The designer’s love for technology is also on display, whether it’s the marble-embroidered green dress presented by Daniel Lee at Bottega Veneta or the impeccable pleats of Virgil Abloh’s long, airy emerald dress at Off-White. Her passion for sparkle is also reflected in a golden asymmetrical mini dress designed by Kim Jones for Fendi, a short black dress adorned with shiny embroidery Signed Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, a sewn set of gold threads created by John Galliano for Martin Margiela and Carried here by a man, or the lamé and pleated silk dress proposed by Stella McCartney and worn by Karen Elson.  Artistic director of the house Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello had Anja Rubik walk the runway wearing a black suit and a big pink bow tie, reminiscent of Alber Elbaz’s favorite uniform.


Present in everyone’s minds that evening, the face and words of the late designer even appeared on the clothes. While Raf Simons presented a straight black velvet dress whose collar was covered with colored pines, each bearing a quote from Alber Elbaz, Dries Van Noten paraded a long bright red asymmetrical coat, on which appears in jacquard a portrait of Alber Elbaz by Tessilclub (its designer). At Lanvin, Bruno Sialelli has displayed his admiration for the man who officiated for 14 years at the head of the French house by printing his face on a sublime and airy white train. 


Afterwards, it is the turn of the entire AZ Factory studio team to pay tribute to the maestro by unveiling 25 models inspired by the couture sportswear he started last year, in the label’s first collection. With tears in her eyes, legendary model and actress Amber Valletta dressed as Alber Elbaz will close this moving show. As the curtain falls, under a shower of heart-shaped confetti, the forty-five tribute silhouettes reappear together in a huge gridded structure, giving the designer’s photography the central place. A powerful demonstration signed by the greatest figures of contemporary fashion, whose work and presence yesterday testified to the respect for a designer of incomparable generosity.