The fashion world was heartbroken with the passing of Alber Elbaz from Covid-19 in April this year. The Israeli designer was 59, and had just recently launched his new label AZ factory in partnership with the Richemont group. Thus, AZ Factory’s Spring 2022 show at Paris Fashion Week was befittingly conceived as a tribute to Elbaz. On this occasion, 45 designers and Elbaz’s own team created a collection to celebrate his life and achievements, and the collection name, “Love Brings Love” was idiosyncratic of the people loving spirit that Elbaz engendered throughout his distinguished career.
Industry bulwarks that joined the the audience included Pierparlo Piccioli, Iris van Herpen, Jean Peaul Gaultier and Maria Grazia Chiuri, as well as other eminent guests such as Brigitte Macron, the First Lady of France. The collection in a profound way granted Elbaz’s long life wish to recreate the Théâtre de la Mode. This was an unprecedented project in 1945 that brought together 60 French haute couture designers in a showcase of French fashion industry savoir faire. “Alber envisioned a new Théâtre de la Mode for today,” said Elbaz’s long time partner Alex Koo, in a voice over before the show. “His dream was to reunite the best talents of our industry to celebrate love, beauty, and hope.”
Looks were created by industry greats, and Elbaz’s contemporaries. Of course, the love heart was a recurring theme, echoing the late designer’s love of this symbol especially during his 14 year reign at Lanvin. Victor & Rolf presented a dramatic trench coat gown that was edged with large paper hearts. Jean Paul Gaultier created an Avant-garde dress that was like a bouquet of three-dimensional hearts. Alessandro Michelle of Gucci’s interpretation incorporated playful heart shaped bras on a slinky purple gown. Pieter Muller of Alaia also paid homage to the heart in a sexy sheer pink dress.
Related article: Designer Alber Elbaz Has Died At 59
Other designers made more literal tributes to Elbaz’s own personal style, characterised by his square glasses and the bright bow ties he loved to wear. Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga super sized the bow tie into a voluminous gown, Rosie Assoulin’s whimsical tribute featured Elbaz’s glasses as the bust of a dress and his jacket as the skirt, and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain and Dries van Noten both incorporated a characterized portrait of Elbaz in their designs. Ralph Lauren’s look was a direct reference to the personal style of Elbaz, the same outfit worn by the Polo Bear embroidered on the model’s sweater.
The show was closed with the AZ Factory design collective’s own designs, and Amber Valletta playing the late designer’s double. In the emotional finale, a giant tableau was revealed, where models stood among a portrait of Elbaz, as confetti hearts rained down. This was a joyful and love-filled tribute to Alber Elbaz, just the way that the industry will remember him.
Related article: Alber Elbaz Returns To The Fashion Fold