Recently celebrating a decade with fashion house Lanvin, Moroccan-born Israeli fashion designer Alber Elbaz has helped reestablish the label’s relevance while sticking to key elements of Jeanne Lanvin’s trademark: intricate trimmings, embroideries and beaded embellishments. As the artistic director for Lanvin, the self-promcliamed control freak uses a hands on approach. In 2006, he introduced new packaging for the fashion house, a “forget-me-not” blue, Jeanne Lanvin’s favorite color, which included new shopping bags and shoes boxes with a tied black ribbon. Some describe Elbaz as a “sweet-natured neurotic” with the necessary shrewdness to get the job done.
In November of 2010, Lanvin partnered with H&M to present an affordable women and menswear collection for the fast-fashion chain; a whimsical dream fantasy for the masses. Elle magazine’s Joe Zee said regarding the collection: “this is how I want to see every girl and every guy dress all the time.”
Considered one of the most talented designers, the congenial Elbaz decided at the last minute while preparing to show his spring 2011 collection in Paris to switch from the onerous stilettos to more comfortable but stylist flats. “I’m backstage watching the models rehearse…and they’re all stumbling around like alcoholics….a man who never wears heels and look at the agony I’ve created!” The reviews for his last minute change: “powerful,” “unimpeachably modern.”
Again not willing to conform to fashion norms, Alber closed his summer presentation with a flock of beautiful black models dressed in flora prints to an audience of applauding excitement. In an industry that can be stubbornly homogeneous, Alber likes to shake up the norm and approach fashion in an unconventional way.
While in the process of designing Lanvin’s 2011 summer collection, Elbaz went through a number of concepts. With the growing obsession of having the perfect body through plastic surgery, Alber Elbaz began pondering “If the body really is the new dress…with women buying boobs, butts, faces then who needs a dressmaker? So I started designing spring like a plastic surgeon, everything stretchy and nude. But after three weeks, I was so bored with myself and the world, I began adding diamond butterflies and chiffon and colors. I realized that fashion is not about second skin. Its not the perfect white shirt or camel jacket. What women need is a dream.” And a dream he did create with his Lanvin 2011 summer collection, full of fantastical accessories, bold colors, textual fabrics and flowing dresses. Elbaz has fulfilled his goal of making clothes “that enables the lady wearing it to fall in love.”