Alber Elbaz, a Moroccan-born Israeli clothier who rejuvenated Lanvin and had lately launched his personal enterprise, AZ Factory, died on Saturday in Paris. He was 59.
The trigger was Covid-19, Richemont, the corporate backing Mr. Elbaz’s venture, mentioned.
“Alber had a richly deserved reputation as one of the industry’s brightest and most beloved figures,” Richemont’s chairman, Johann Rupert, mentioned in an announcement. “I was always taken by his intelligence, sensitivity, generosity and unbridled creativity.”
Mr. Elbaz had launched AZ Factory after a five-year hiatus following his abrupt firing from Lanvin, the place he was style director from 2001 to 2015. During his time there, he turned Lanvin, the oldest surviving however dusty French style home, right into a extra fashionable and outstanding model whose creations had been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Meryl Streep, Lupita Nyong’o, Pharrell Williams, Natalie Portman and Harry Styles.
A gifted designer, Mr. Elbaz was identified for his generosity — he would ship flowers to different designers earlier than their exhibits — self-deprecating humor and self-questioning.
Mr. Elbaz usually talked about being chubby and mentioned that being skinny was a fantasy that influenced his work. He remodeled that fantasy into lightness, he mentioned, by turning his creations into comfy and generally subtly eccentric garments.
Ms. Portman as soon as referred to as him the “ultimate fashion philosopher-mentor.”
“He says things to me like: ‘Wear flats. You’re short. It’s much cooler not to pretend,’” Ms. Portman told Time in 2007, when the journal named Mr. Elbaz one of many world’s 100 most influential individuals.
But for the magnificence and extravagance he dropped at his creations, Mr. Elbaz tried to stay easy in non-public — a whisperer in a world of buzz and image-making and screams, he mentioned in 2015 as he acquired the Fashion Group International award.
He as soon as in contrast the job of a designer to a concierge’s in a flowery Manhattan lodge.
The world of intricate attire, cat walks and purple carpets was one which he embraced publicly however remained cautious of, one which he mentioned was not actuality.
“You have to go back to nothing in order to maintain the dream,” Mr. Elbaz told The New Yorker in 2009. “The moment the dream becomes reality and you start to mingle too much with all these people…,” he added, leaving his sentence unfinished.
Still, luxurious garments got here with a worth that he readily justified: Mr. Elbaz as soon as in contrast a style assortment to a vaccine — a straightforward product to duplicate, however not one thing low cost to create.
Albert Elbaz was born on June 12, 1961, in Casablanca, Morocco, and grew up in Israel. After finding out style design in Tel Aviv, within the mid-1980s he moved to New York, the place he eliminated the T from his first title in order that it might not be mispronounced.
In New York, Mr. Elbaz grew to become the assistant designer of Geoffrey Beene. He then moved to Paris in 1997 to develop into the pinnacle of prêt-à-porter design at Guy Laroche. He additionally headed the ready-to-wear collections of Yves Saint Laurent.
Then got here Lanvin, in 2001, and he tried to blur the traces between seasonal collections and generations, between the Parisian stylish and the sensible.
At his departure, Lanvin had been combating falling income, which Mr. Elbaz attributed to a scarcity of technique and funding.
At his new model, AZ Factory — which was backed by Richemont, the Swiss luxurious firm — he introduced a imaginative and prescient: make garments that girls would wish to put on, at a extra accessible worth.
“I asked myself, ‘If I was a woman, what would I want?’” Mr. Elbaz advised The New York Times in January. “Something that is first comfortable. Something fun. Something that lets me eat a big piece of cake.”
That allowed him to create the most straightforward issues he had ever made, he mentioned — though he had additionally in contrast the formation of his new model to giving start.
“My hormones are burning,” Mr. Elbaz had added. “I’m so itchy. I cry and laugh within seconds.”
Elizabeth Paton and Vanessa Friedman contributed reporting.