Alber Elbaz, a fashion designer who made women feel happy and confident

Alber Elbaz, a fashion designer who made women feel happy and confident

The Guardian

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Elbaz redefined the party dress, showing how glamour could be sensual rather than overtly sexy

Alber Elbaz will be remembered for his heart. Emotion was at the core of every dress he designed. The signature that ran through every one of his catwalk shows was not a hemline or a logo, but a feeling of joyfulness. His jewel-coloured, goddess-draped dresses made women feel happy and confident – and because they felt happy and confident, they looked beautiful.

Elbaz, who has died from Covid-19 aged 59, was at the centre of the fashion industry for over three decades, riding both its highs and its lows as he transformed the fortunes of the dormant house of Lanvin before being unceremoniously dropped in 2015.

Through three turbulent decades, no one in the industry had a bad word to say about him – quite an achievement in the fickle world of thousand-pound frocks. Warm and funny with a shy, neurotic charm, he was a confidant and therapist to his movie-star clients and his loyal seamstresses alike. When he appeared at the end of a catwalk for his brief bow, looking like a bespectacled teddy bear in a bow tie, the applause was always thunderous. His death has sent shockwaves through the industry, not just for being sudden and unexpected, but because Elbaz was loved.

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