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The timing of Alber Elbaz’s return to fashion is apt. After a five-year hiatus following his departure from Lanvin in 2015, the designer debuted his new venture AZ Factory this week. The philosophy underpinning the label, a partnership with Richemont, is to tackle fashion’s challenges of excess, irrelevance and exclusivity with technology, focus and innovation.
In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, editor-in-chief Imran Amed and Elbaz discuss how the designer fell back in love with fashion why it is necessary to slow the pace of the industry.
AZ Factory was born out of Elbaz’s disillusionment with the fashion world. His goal is to bring greater transparency to the design process and a more inclusive feel to customers. His first collection runs from size XS to XXXL. “We always have to remember again and again that this is 2021. How do women live, what do they need, how can I give them what they need?” said Elbaz. “It is taking all this information and processing it and then [giving my] take on it.”
The label made a digital debut at Paris couture week with a fashion film. Elbaz said the restrictions created by the pandemic were both a creative challenge and opportunity. “I cannot tell you that it was always easy” Elbaz said. “The night before we air[ed] the film I was still working in editing and looking and changing the music.”
One outcome of fashion’s current crisis that the designer is fully onboard with is the move towards a slower pace. Elbaz is increasingly focusing on new and innovative fabrics that require time to fully understand from a design perspective. “I cannot do it every couple of weeks so I know that I will have to keep [it to] two projects [at a time],” said Elbaz.