PARIS / ZURICH, April 25 (Reuters) – Luxury fashion firm Richemont (CFR.S) confirmed the passing of designer Alber Elbaz on Sunday, claiming that the former creative director of French fashion house Lanvin had died of consequences of COVID-19.
Among Elbaz’s designs was the dress worn by Meryl Streep when she accepted her 2012 Best Actress Oscar for The Iron Lady, while other famous fans included Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Kate Moss, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
“It was with shock and immense sadness that I learned of Alber’s sudden passing,” said Richemont chairman Johann Rupert, who described Elbaz as a beloved friend.
“Alber had a well-deserved reputation as one of the brightest and most beloved figures in the industry. I have always been wowed by his intelligence, sensitivity, generosity and unbridled creativity,” added Rupert.
The designer, who was known for his work at the Lanvin fashion house from 2001 to 2015, died in Paris on Saturday, WWD reported. He was 59 years old.
Since 2019, he was working on a fashion joint venture with Richemont called AZ Factory, a company aimed at producing smart womens fashion by mixing traditional craftsmanship with technology.
Elbaz was born in Morocco and raised in Israel from the age of one. He launched his fashion career in 1985, working in New York City with designer Geoffrey Beene.
In 1996, he became design director at Guy Laroche in Paris, before joining Yves Saint Laurent as creative director of his ready-to-wear brand Rive Gauche.
In 2001, he joined Lanvin, where he achieved critical and commercial success based on his principle of putting women first.
During her 14-year tenure, Elbaz was credited with reigniting the fortunes of the French fashion house, with modern versions of silk cocktail dresses and colorful, feminine designs.
“It was just about making women comfortable,” he said of his dresses with industrial zips and raw edges, two of the characteristics he established for Lanvin.
Lanvin’s sales plummeted after his departure in 2015 and the brand was eventually taken over by Chinese Fosun.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo described Elbaz’s death as a great sadness.
“Alber Elbaz was a talented and generous man, he loved Paris so much. He will be missed,” she wrote on Twitter.
Report by Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris and John Revill in Zurich; Editing by Hugh Lawson and David Evans
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