Hugely successfull fashion designer Alber Elbaz, probably the ideal replacement for Lagerfeld at Chanel
Born in Casablanca, Morocco, Elbaz immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of ten and later served in the Israeli Defense Forces. He studied at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan. His lifetime partner is Alex Koo, who is also the Marketing Director of Lanvin.
In 1987, Elbaz moved to New York City and, at first, worked for two years for a manufacturer of mother-of-the-bride clothing. He subsequently worked for Geoffrey Beene for seven years. In 1997, Elbaz left Beene was hired by the firm of Guy Laroche. But, by the time of Elbaz’s arrival, the Laroche enterprise had become overly conservative and lackluster. Even so, Elbaz was able to update the collection and somewhat enhance the image of the firm, whose activities at the time included the management of 15 boutiques and 70 license agreements worldwide. However, he departed within a year, 1998, and began designing ready-to-wear women’s clothing for Yves Saint-Laurent, . In the position, Elbaz’s talent was recognized, and he was groomed to become the head designer of the house when Saint-Larent retired. “More than anything [my time at YSL] helped me to focus — what I know, what I want to do. I’m more true to myself now and more honest with my work and I’m enjoying the moment. I feel more mature.” said Elbaz.
When Gucci Group purchased YSL, Tom Ford took over the creative direction of both YSL and Gucci and dismissed Elbaz after three collections.
In October 2001, Elbaz was appointed artistic director of Lanvin in Paris. Prior, in August 2001, the company had been purchased by investor group Harmonie S.A., led by Mrs. Shaw-Lan Wang, a Taiwanese media magnate, who hired Elbaz. His collections have been extremely well received by critics as well as celebrities, the company’s turnover almost doubled since he took over the creative direction.
This Fall, Elbaz signed a collection for retailer H&M which was sold out in days, making people form huge lines before the actual launch in the stores. When asked why he accepted the collaboraation with H&M, Elbaz said it was to prevent everyone from falling foul of life in the same vein as Marie Antoinette.