Alber Elbaz, Fashion Designer, Dies of Covid at 59

Alber Elbaz, Fashion Designer, Dies of Covid at 59

He once compared the job of a designer to a concierge’s in a fancy Manhattan hotel.

The world of intricate dresses, cat walks and red carpets was one that he embraced publicly but remained wary of, one that he said was not reality.

“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, luxury clothes came with a price that he readily justified: Mr. Elbaz once compared a fashion collection to a vaccine — an easy product to duplicate, but not something cheap to create.

Albert Elbaz was born in Morocco in 1961 and grew up in Israel. After studying fashion design in Tel Aviv, in the mid-1980s he moved to New York, where he removed the T from his first name so that it would not be mispronounced.

In New York, Mr. Elbaz became the assistant designer of Geoffrey Beene. He then moved to Paris in 1997 to become the head of prêt-à-porter design at Guy Laroche. He also headed the ready-to-wear collections of Yves Saint Laurent.

Then came Lanvin, in 2001, and he tried to blur the lines between seasonal collections and generations, between the Parisian chic and the practical.

At the time of his departure, Lanvin had been struggling with falling revenue, which Mr. Elbaz attributed to a lack of strategy and investment.

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