10 Things You Didn’t Know About Alber Elbaz

If you’re a fashion enthusiast, you’ve likely heard of Alber Elbaz – the iconic fashion designer who gained fame during his tenure as the creative director of Lanvin. Known for his whimsical yet elegant designs, Elbaz left an indelible mark on the fashion industry. While many know about his signature style and professional accomplishments, there are some lesser-known aspects of his life and career that are fascinating to discover. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at ten things you didn’t know about Alber Elbaz.

1. Humble Beginnings

Alber Elbaz was born in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1961. From an early age, he displayed a passion for fashion and constantly sketched designs for his mother to sew. His upbringing in a culturally rich environment greatly influenced his work, with Middle Eastern aesthetics often being reflected in his designs in subtle ways.

Despite his artistic inclinations, Elbaz initially pursued higher education in Israel, focusing on hotel management. However, his passion for fashion soon led him to study at the prestigious Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv, where he honed his skills and discovered his true calling as a designer.

2. The Lanvin Legacy

Alber Elbaz’s most significant contribution to the fashion world was his tenure as the creative director of Lanvin. He took the reins of the storied French fashion house in 2001 and injected new life into the brand. Elbaz’s designs revitalized Lanvin, making it a favorite among fashion-forward individuals seeking a perfect balance between luxury and wearability.

During his time at Lanvin, Elbaz brought back the brand’s reputation for modernity and elegance. His emphasis on draping, luxurious fabrics, and sophisticated cuts created a distinctive Lanvin aesthetic. Elbaz’s creations were loved by celebrities, and his dresses graced the red carpets of countless award ceremonies. He left Lanvin in 2015, leaving a void that the fashion world is still trying to fill.

3. Collaborations and Side Projects

While Alber Elbaz is primarily known for his work at Lanvin, he has also ventured into collaborations and side projects that showcase his creative versatility. In 2019, Elbaz collaborated with Tod’s, an Italian luxury brand known for its footwear and leather goods. The collaboration resulted in a limited-edition collection that fused Elbaz’s bold personality with Tod’s craftsmanship.

Elbaz has also partnered with luxury fragrance brand Frédéric Malle to create a perfume called “Superstitious.” The fragrance, launched in 2016, captivates with its mysterious allure and elegant composition, reflecting Elbaz’s penchant for timeless elegance.

4. Elbaz’s ‘Hippopotamus Style’

Alber Elbaz is known for his self-deprecating humor and ability to find beauty in imperfections. He humorously referred to his design style as “Hippopotamus style” since his designs focus on flattering the women who wear them, rather than obsessing over fashion industry standards of size and shape.

Elbaz believed that clothes should adapt to women, rather than expecting women to conform to the clothes. This inclusive idea of beauty set him apart and earned him a dedicated following of women who celebrated their curves and individuality.

5. His Touch of Whimsy

One of the defining characteristics of Alber Elbaz’s designs is their playful and whimsical nature. While his creations ooze sophistication, they also incorporate unexpected details that add an element of surprise to the garments. Elbaz often included oversized bows, ruffles, and exuberant prints in his designs to inject a sense of joy into the world of high fashion.

This lighthearted approach to design endeared Elbaz to many, with his garments serving as a reminder that fashion should be fun and expressive rather than rigid and serious.

6. Celebrity Fan Club

Alber Elbaz’s designs have captivated a wide range of fashion-forward celebrities. From Natalie Portman and Emma Stone to Meryl Streep and Kim Kardashian, his creations have graced red carpets around the world. Elbaz’s ability to create garments that perfectly balance glamour and comfort made him a favorite among many A-list celebrities.

Furthermore, actresses donning Lanvin, under Elbaz’s creative direction, regularly topped best-dressed lists, reinforcing his status as a true icon of the fashion industry.

7. Attention to Detail

Known for his meticulous approach to fashion design, Alber Elbaz paid extraordinary attention to every detail in his garments. He believed in the importance of craftsmanship and took pride in creating pieces that would stand the test of time both in terms of design and quality.

This commitment to excellence led Elbaz to work closely with the artisans producing his designs, ensuring that each element is executed flawlessly. From fabric selection to precise tailoring, his attention to detail elevated his creations to the highest standards of luxury.

8. A Philanthropic Spirit

Beyond his creative pursuits, Alber Elbaz was known for his compassionate and philanthropic nature. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he launched a podcast series titled “Alber Elbaz: On the Other Side of the Virus.” The podcast aimed to provide hope and inspiration during difficult times, offering support and insight to those in the fashion industry and beyond.

Elbaz also collaborated with Designers Against AIDS, an international nonprofit organization, to create a collection of limited-edition T-shirts that supported charitable causes. Additionally, he actively participated in mentorship programs and provided guidance to aspiring designers.

9. His Love for Sketching

Alber Elbaz’s journey as a designer began with his love for sketching. Throughout his career, he continued to passionately sketch his ideas, often favoring pencils over computer-aided design tools. Elbaz believed that sketching allowed him to truly connect with his creativity and capture the essence of his designs before bringing them to life.

These sketches were known for their whimsical style, showcasing Elbaz’s distinctive artistic flair and providing a glimpse into his imaginative mind.

10. A Gentle Soul

As much as Alber Elbaz was celebrated for his talent, he was equally cherished for his kind and gentle personality. He was known for his warmth and humility, always putting others before himself. This humility is reflected in his designs, which emphasize the wearer’s beauty rather than drawing attention to the designer.

Elbaz’s ability to connect with people and understand their desires and struggles allowed him to create clothes that had a profound impact not just in the fashion world, but also on the lives of those who wore them.

Alber Elbaz left an indelible mark on the fashion industry with his unique approach to design and his ability to infuse elegance with playfulness. His legacy continues to inspire designers around the world, reminding them to celebrate individuality and embrace the joy of fashion.


Shenkar College of Engineering and Design


Frédéric Malle

Designers Against AIDS