Fashion designer Alber Elbaz, who worked at some of France’s best-known fashion houses, died in Paris at the age of 59 due to coronavirus, Luxury fashion company Richemont announced on Sunday.
“It was with shock and enormous sadness that I heard of Alber’s sudden passing,” said Richemont chairman Johann Rupert, who described Elbaz as 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,” Rupert added.
Elbaz worked at Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent before joining Lanvin as creative director in 2001. Under his leadership, Elbaz transformed not only the label but also fashion’s relationship with Hollywood.
“The red carpet has gone from elitist to popular,” he said at the time. “Everyone has access to it, even if only on the internet or through magazines. Since fashion is an integral part of celebrities’ lives, it’s become a kind of permanent red carpet despite itself.”
In 2014, he left Lanvin in a shock departure. Although he collaborated with brands including Tod’s, Converse and Lancome, Elbaz was largely absent from the fashion industry for five years.
Speaking about his hiatus, he told Wallpaper magazine: “I’ve had the time to observe and live a life not as a fashion designer but just as a human being.”
Speaking to the Guardian in 2009, the designer stated that size inclusivity was an issue that was close his heart.
“I am overweight, so I am very, very aware of what to show and what not to show,” he said, “and I am sure there is a huge link with being an overweight designer and the work I do.”