The industry mourned one of the greats, staging a spectacular show that celebrated his legacy.
Alber Elbaz‘s passing this spring touched many in the fashion industry, from the models, editors and peers that knew him to the millions of others he reached through his work. He shaped a generation of creatives, inspired by his energy, his optimism and his dedication to making people feel their best — the range of which was clear on Tuesday evening.
Over 40 designers from across the globe came together to pay tribute to Elbaz, closing out Paris Fashion Week with a runway collection inspired by the designer’s legacy. According to a press release, the show was modeled after Théâtre de la Mode — “a 1945 Parisian exhibition which brought together over sixty French couturiers as a beautiful expression of creativity, prestige and solidarity in the wake of World War II,” which Elbaz had hoped to recreate some day.
Participants from major design houses (Balenciaga, YSL, Versace) and emerging labels (Christopher John Rogers, Thebe Magugu, Tomo Kuzumi) alike were tasked with creating an original piece that referenced Elbaz’s work — or Elbaz himself. Some took this literally, weaving in the designer’s likeness into graphic illustrations, screen-printed portraits or bow details; others referenced specific looks from his extensive, storied portfolio, reimagining them through their own lens.
“We wanted to find a way to celebrate Alber’s spirit,” Alex Koo, Elbaz’s longtime partner, told Vogue‘s Hamish Bowles. “It is beautiful to see how each designer revealed a different aspect of Alber. It really was a labor of love.”
Elbaz’s team at AZ Factory, the Richemont-backed brand he debuted only months before his passing, then unveiled its Spring 2022 line, also a tribute to their boss — a particularly emotional moment, as the designer’s touch was felt throughout. Amber Valletta closed the show wearing a coat that, according to Vogue, was “cut from the same pattern as the one his team had originally created for him,” with the designer’s signature tilt-bow. If you had managed to hold back tears up to now, this moment was probably what finally broke you.
“Talents celebrating talent is a remarkable tribute to the man we all loved so much,” Laurent Malecaze, CEO of AZ Factory, said, in a statement. “We are very humbled by the extraordinary support from all those who participated in the making of the show, and to all those who were able to join us for this historic night.”
See the full Alber Elbaz tribute and AZ Factory Spring 2022 show in the gallery, below.