Fashion designer Alber Elbaz dies at 59, Fashion World Pays Tribute

Alber Elbaz has passed away at 59.

The legendary Israeli-American fashion designer who spent almost 15 years as artistic director of the Lanvin house died on Saturday April 24 in a Paris hospital following a battle with Covid-19.

Elbaz who stepped down from the French fashion house after 14 years in 2015, had announced his return with digital luxury brand AZ Factory during Paris Couture Week. The project which was in collaboration with the Compagnie Financiere Richemont aimed at producing smart women's fashion by blending traditional craftsmanship with technology.

Born in Morocco and raised and educated in Israel, Elbaz moved to New York in the 1980s. Prior to his critical and commercial success at Lanvin, he was recruited in 1996 by Ralph Toledano as design director at Guy Laroche in Paris, while later joining Yves Saint Laurent as creative director of its ready-to-wear brand Rive Gauche.

Following the news of his tragic death over the weekend, tributes have been pouring in from the fashion world.

'I have lost not only a colleague but a beloved friend. Alber had a richly deserved reputation as one of the industry's brightest and most beloved figures. I was always taken by his intelligence, sensitivity, generosity and unbridled creativity. He was a man of exceptional warmth and talent, and his singular vision, sense of beauty and empathy leave an indelible impression. It was a great privilege watching Alber in his last endeavor as he worked to realize his dream of 'smart fashion that cares,' said Richemont founder and chairman Johann Rupert, who confirmed the news to WWD in a statement.

'Alber Elbaz has offered us unique aesthetic moments on the catwalk and throughout his career. We will particularly miss his bubbling creativity, his joyful vision of fashion and his willingness to constantly redefine it,' Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode said in a statement.

'It is with extremely heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our founder, Alber Elbaz. The power of his vision, his extraordinary imagination, his adoration of women, and his kind heart have fueled his latest gift to our lives: AZ Factory. He lived for fashion, and we were all so lucky to have been a part of this adventure, Alber's project to reset fashion to care. Alber, we will all carry your mission in our hearts, and your generosity in our lives. The world has lost a legend. We love you, Alber,' said the team of his brand in a tribute to him in the press release.

'With the sudden passing of Alber Elbaz, the fashion industry has lost one of its brightest and most sensitive designers. His creativity, both irreverent and elegant, will forever be remembered,' Bernard Arnault Chairman and chief executive of LVMH said.

'Heartbroken by the news of the passing of my dear friend Alber. I will never forget how generous, talented, loving he was. He was the first person who made me feel at home in the fashion industry. His favourite word was love and it's with this word I will always remember him,' Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri wrote in an Instagram post.

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