Exhibition dedicated to designer Alber Elbaz opens in his Israel home town

The show, taking place in Holon, is a celebration of the late fashion figure's life

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An exhibition dedicated to the life and work of much-loved fashion designer Alber Elbaz has opened in his home town of Holon in Israel.

Elbaz was best-known for his work as creative director at Lanvin from 2001 to 2015. He died in April 2021 due to Covid-19.

The show, titled Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory, will run until March 2023, before it tours cities that were a big part of his life, including New York and Paris, where he lived for many years.

Currently, the show is spread across the entire Museum of Holon, featuring nine galleries filled with more than 100 of his designs, as well as more then 300 photographs, personal items and archives being shown for the first time, including images of Elbaz as a child.

As famed for his warmth and humour as he was for his skillful design, Elbaz's sense of joy and playfulness is also captured in the exhibition. The first gallery, for example, features mannequins wearing little black dresses suspended from colourful ribbons. All clothes here have been taken from his last venture, and the only label he ever launched, AZ Factory.

Another room is called Love is Love, to reflect the name of the tribute show for Elbaz held in Paris shortly after his death.

There is also a 180-foot corridor filled with quotes, childhood toys, illustrations and even keepsakes, including his trademark bowtie and glasses, which he was rarely seen without, and a thimble gifted to him by a woman who survived the Holocaust thanks to her sewing skills.

The corridor ends with a gold lamé dress created for the actress Meryl Streep to collect her Academy Award for The Iron Lady in 2012, and gifted to the Museum by Streep herself. Also on show is a gown Elbaz dubbed “The Peace Dress”, to reflect his optimistic view of the world.

Israel designer Alber Elbaz, seen here in 2015. Photo Reuters

The clothes on show span much of his career. Of his ambition for AZ Factory, Elbaz said at the time that “fashion is the factory of dreams. A factory without a dream is a factory without a future. And a dream without a factory is a dream without substance.

“It's our job as designers to make women smile; to bring them the chocolate without the calories.”

As well as Lanvin, Elbaz had stints working at Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent, but was most famous for his inclusive, deeply flattering womenswear, a direction that stemmed, he believed, from a shared empathy.

“I am overweight, so I am very, very aware of what to show and what not to show,” he said in an interview with The Guardian in 2009. “And I am sure there is a huge link with being an overweight designer and the work I do.”

Scroll through the gallery below to see other famous people we lost in 2021

Updated: September 20, 2022, 7:19 AM
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