On October 5th, 2021, 46 designers and fashion houses paid tribute to the legendary Alber Elbaz and his legacy. Alexandre Samson, curator of the haute couture and contemporary design collections at the Palais Galliera and curator of “Love Brings Love”, shares his view on this one-of-a-kind exhibition which recreates the collaborative show.
The Love Brings Love show gathered 46 designers to pay tribute to Alber Elbaz. Is there a common thread between all these looks created especially for this event?
“Love Brings Love” was Alber Elbaz’s favorite expression, conveying everything about his personality and his universe. It is this energy, always joyful and positive, that was the common thread running through this extraordinary show. Most of the designers who participated were inspired by Alber Elbaz’s creations for Lanvin, but some also took models from the Saint Laurent and Guy Laroche eras. We also notice that some have chosen to pay tribute to the codes of Alber Elbaz – his mini dresses, the volumes draped on the live, the frank colors that he used a lot – while others chose to interpret his portrait.
The exhibition explores Alber Elbaz’s career. What impact has his work had on his time?
Alber Elbaz’s fashion was designed for women, no matter their body type or age. All his creations were incredibly light, like the silk charmeuse dresses from his Summer 2008 collection for Lanvin. He also developed his own signature codes, such as the clean edges on delicate dresses, the grosgrain used as embellishment, the visible shiny zippers and draping done on the spot with thick and precious fabrics in vibrant colors.
According to you, which garment embodies the Alber Elbaz style?
The exhibition presents a variety of creations that pay tribute to Alber Elbaz’s unique style. Yet some pieces subtly stand out, such as the first silhouette from the runway show Alber Elbaz created for AZ Factory before his death, or the tribute by Dries Van Noten weaving a drawn self-portrait of Alber Elbaz, topped by a design created by Stephen Jones featuring his glasses on the back.
Beyond fashion, his personality was frequently evoked. Why do you think love was the central theme for this exceptional show?
Alber Elbaz is renowned for his kindness and goodness, not only as a designer but also as a human being. He considered fashion as a big family. After leaving Lanvin, he took a break from fashion to, as he said himself, “fall in love” with fashion again. He gave numerous conferences and met with students from fashion schools worldwide. This key experience turned his thirst for fashion into a positive feeling that inspired him to create AZ Factory in 2019. Thus, love naturally emerged as the central theme for this exceptional fashion show that the Palais Galliera wanted to recreate. The exhibition “Love Brings Love: The tribute fashion show to Alber Elbaz” invites visitors to immerse themselves in this ephemeral universe by replicating the running order, the effects, the music and the lights. Where that darkened space was intended to conjure the loneliness caused by the sanitary crisis, the exhibition highlights the fraternity of the designers, gathered to celebrate the memory of one of their most brilliant and charismatic figures.
« Love Brings Love » until July 10th, 2022 at Palais Galliéra.