Alber Elbaz, the designer best known for his spectacular rejuvenation of Lanvin from 2001 to 2015, died on Saturday at a Paris hospital. He was 59.
His death, due to COVID-19, was confirmed by Compagnie Financière Richemont, his joint venture partner in AZ Factory, his latest fashion venture.
An ebullient character prized for his couture-like craft, Elbaz took a five-year hiatus after being ousted from Lanvin and just launched AZ Factory, hinged on solutions-driven fashions, entertainment and tech.
While his name was not on the label, the start-up was steeped in Elbaz’s personality, humor, and his inimitable flair for soigné fashions.
“I have lost not only a colleague but a beloved friend,” Richemont founder and chairman Johann Rupert said in a statement, expressing his shock and sadness at Elbaz’s sudden passing.
“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 said. “He was a man of exceptional warmth and talent, and his singular vision, sense of beauty and empathy leave an indelible impression.
“It was a great privilege watching Alber in his last endeavor as he worked to realize his dream of ‘smart fashion that cares.’