default-output-block.skip-main
BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

Lessons for the Fashion Industry From Alber Elbaz’s Talk at VOICES 2018

The late designer shared his musings, wisdom and advice for the fashion industry in a talk at BoF VOICES in 2018.
Alber Elbaz.
Alber Elbaz.
The author has shared a Podcast.You will need to accept and consent to the use of cookies and similar technologies by our third-party partners (including: YouTube, Instagram or Twitter), in order to view embedded content in this article and others you may visit in future.

To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link.

Alber Elbaz, who died aged 59 of Covid-19 over the weekend, was a revered and beloved figure in the fashion industry. The designer, famed for revitalising the fortunes of Lanvin before a dispute with his owner led to his abrupt departure, had just returned to fashion after a five-year hiatus.

He debuted his new venture, AZ Factory, during Paris Couture Week in January. The joint venture with Richemont was designed to reflect a better model for the fashion system, the pressures and strains of which Elbaz knew all too well.

In a heartfelt, funny, thoughtful and poignant address at BoF VOICES in November 2018, Elbaz shared a mix of personal anecdotes, observations and lessons for the fashion industry:

  • Fashion needs to pare back its unfettered production cycle to a level that’s manageable for young designers straining under the “speed of the system,” he said. Elbaz compared the industry’s constant demand for newness to an old recipe that uses too much fat: “Maybe [it’s time] to cut the butter out and make it healthier.”
  • Creative instinct and improvisation are far more valuable than the tech tools that might be available to designers. “Life is full of codes, formulas, databases and algorithms,” said Elbaz. “Overuse of all of those can kill intuition and intuition is the essence of creation. This is the essence of life itself.”
  • There’s more to fashion creation than just empty aspirational content. Long-time muse and client Meryl Streep “said that I never tried to transform her, but I helped her to be a better version of herself,” said Elbaz. “I believe that’s what fashion does best. It’s dreams, but it’s no longer just dreams. It’s also about solutions. It’s also about solving problems with a dream.”
  • Above all, celebrate your audience. “For years, I felt I was hugging people with my clothes,” he said. “I thought that every dress I make would be hugging the woman who is wearing it. Years later, I received all these hugs back from you fashion people.”

Related Articles:

Inside Alber Elbaz’s Return to Fashion

Inside the Mind of Alber Elbaz

Alber Elbaz on Making His Return to Fashion

Join BoF Professional for the analysis and advice you need. Get 30 days for just $1 or explore group subscriptions for your business.

In This Article
Topics
Series

© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

More from Luxury
How rapid change is reshaping the tradition-soaked luxury sector in Europe and beyond.


Sales at Renzo Rosso’s Breganza-based fashion group have continued to climb in a rocky market for designer apparel, validating the design-led approach that was on display at the Diesel and Marni shows this week in Milan.



view more

Subscribe to the BoF Daily Digest

The essential daily round-up of fashion news, analysis, and breaking news alerts.

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
CONNECT WITH US ON
BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024
© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and Accessibility Statement.
BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024