Alber Elbaz – the much-loved fashion designer famed for his exuberant imagination and personality and his 14-year old creative tenureship at Parisian couture house Lanvin – has died at the age of 59. Elbaz passed away at the American Hospital in Paris from Covid-19. His death was confirmed this morning by Richemont, Elbaz’s luxury group partner in AZ Factory, the new ready-to-wear fashion label which he launched in January 2021.

Elbaz, whose personal style signatures were black glasses and a bow tie – is most renowned for his creative directorship at Lanvin, where from 2001-2015 he rejuvenated the label with his imaginative designs, brimming with colour, print and volume. Elbaz’s shock exit from the house was acrimonious, and the designer took a five year hiatus from the industry, returning in early 2021.

Prior to Lanvin – the Morocco-born designer, who moved to Israel at a young age – worked for Parisian maison Yves Saint Laurent and Italian label Krizia. Elbaz began his fashion career in 1989 assisting American fashion designer Geoffrey Beene, after moving to New York five years prior.

In January 2021, Elbaz returned to the fashion industry to much industry jubilation, with his new label AZ Factory. ‘I’ve had the time to observe and live a life not as a fashion designer but just as a human being,’ Elbaz recently told Wallpaper* in the May 2021 Issue. His new brand was rooted in a seasonless business model, focused on timeless pieces for a diverse range of women, that maintained his reverence for colour, pattern and wit. 

‘My biggest dream was to create a brand and not the house of a fashion designer,’ Elbaz explained. Most poignantly, he remarked, ‘If one day I’m not there, I want someone to take over.’ §