Fashion industry pays tribute to the late designer Alber Elbaz: 'He was a light like no other'

Fellow designers and celebrities have taken to social media to share their memories of the late designer

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09:  Artistic Director of Lanvin Alber Elbaz attends Day 1 of the International Herald Tribune Heritage Luxury Conference at theInterContinental Hotel on November 9, 2010 in London, England  (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images for International Herald Tribune)
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Tributes to designer Alber Elbaz continue to pour in as the fashion industry comes to grips with his untimely death.

Immensely popular, Elbaz died aged 59 on Saturday after a three-week battle with Covid-19.

His last venture, a new fashion label called AZ Factory released a statement to announce Elbaz’s death.

"It is with extremely heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our founder, Alber Elbaz. The power of his vision, his extraordinary imagination, his adoration of women, and his kind heart have fuelled his latest gift to our lives: AZ Factory. He lived for fashion, and we were all so lucky to have been a part of this adventure, Alber's project to reset fashion to care.

“Alber, we will all carry your mission in our hearts, and your generosity in our lives. The world has lost a legend. We love you, Alber.”

The announcement of Alber Elbaz's death, released by his company AZ Factory. Courtesy AZ Factory
The announcement of Alber Elbaz's death, released by his company AZ Factory. Courtesy AZ Factory

Its Instagram account posted a black-and-white image of the designer with the words, "you made us dream, you made us think, and now you fly. Love, trust and respect, always." Under the comments, Linda Evangelista, a supermodel in the 1990s, simply added nine broken heart emojis.

The designer Stella McCartney also took to social media to pay her respects.

“He was a light like no other in the world. In fashion, his immense talent shone so bright that it tore up the conventions and wrapped a million souls in happiness when they wore his creations," she wrote.

Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri said that she was "heartbroken by the news" of his demise. "He was the first person who made me feel at home in the fashion industry. His favourite word was love and it's with this word I will always remember him," she wrote.

At Valentino, designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, wrote that “the world of fashion has lost one of its biggest treasures and I’ve lost a true, honest, special friend. When I moved my first step as a creative director he welcomed me as no other did. He was able to infuse his soul into his work by creating an aesthetic that spoke so loudly of his colourful, sparkling, and intense joy de vivre."

Designer Giambattista Valli remembered the designer’s “beautiful mind and effortlessly cultivated attitude for life”.

Marc Jacobs meanwhile wrote of Elbaz’s welcoming spirit. ”You were always good to me, and, I have always admired you for your kindness, your vision, your creativity and extraordinary talent.”

Fashion critic Suzy Menkes described him as “the witty, wise and whimsical designer who put women first,” while model Naomi Campbell shared of her delight of knowing him. “What a blessing knowing you, such joy always, seeing your true passion for women, and your sense of humour constant laughter and wit.”

Fellow model Erin O’Connor described the late designer as "a fine, kind, creative gentleman” while reality star Kim Kardashian remembered a shared history with Elbaz.

"Alber dressed me for my first Vogue cover and gifted me with the cover dress to hold onto that memory forever," wrote Kardashian.

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker posted an image of keepsakes that the designer had sent, explaining that "he always left little notes inside parcels,” and that he "inspired loved and brought joy to every occasion.”

Actress Lily Collins also thanked the designer for "bringing such magic into my life” and that she was "forever honoured" to call him a friend, while the French model and filmmaker Farida Khelfa simply wrote “I’m gone miss you little brother.”

Elbaz's funeral will take place on Wednesday, in Holon, Israel, where he grew up and where both his parents are buried.

Having announced the details, Ralph Toledano, president of the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode added that Elbaz's family also hoped to hold a memorial event in Paris, to coincide with what would have been the designer's 60th birthday on Saturday, June 12.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 27, 2012 Moroccan-born Israeli fashion designer for Lanvin Alber Elbaz, acknowledges the public at the end of the Spring/Summer 2013 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris. Fashion designer Alber Elbaz, 59, has died today in Paris announced fashion Richemont luxury group  on April 25, 2021.  / AFP / FRANCOIS GUILLOT
Morocco born Isreali fashion designer Alber Elbaz has died at the age of 59. AFP

Who was Alber Elbaz?

Elbaz came to prominence when he was head hunted by Toledano to head up the label Guy Laroche in Paris in 1996, where his work was greeted with rapture.

In 1998 he took over from Yves Saint Laurent at the ready-to-wear line Rive Gauche. Ousted just three seasons later when Gucci took over the group, Elbaz was then appointed to Lanvin, where his dazzling creations single handedly turned around the flagging company.

In October 2015, he announced he was leaving Lanvin, citing professional differences.
In January 2021, Elbaz returned to fashion with a new venture backed by the luxury group Richemont. Called AZ Factory, it was launched to great fanfare, with clothes for women that used that latest technological fabrics to create high fashion.