Remembering Alber Elbaz: His legacy as a fighter for diversity in fashion

Alber Elbaz was adored by many for his mission to include all those which did not feel they had a place for them in fashion.

In the world of fashion where trends of the moment can often exclude those who don't necessarily fit a certain standard, the now late Alber Elbaz—under his leadership at Lanvin between 2001-2015—broke many rules that only solidified his status as a visionary.

Loved by many

Following the news that the Israeli designer passed away due to COVID-19 yesterday in Paris, celebrities, fashion insiders and fans alike were quick to pour out their condolences on social media. Dior's womenswear Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, described Elbaz as:

Generous, talented and loving. He was the first person who made me feel at home in the fashion industry. His favourite word was love and it’s with this word I will always remember him.

Known for having dressed everyone from Sarah Jessica Parker, to Kim Kardashian during her first ever MET Gala to even Beyoncé when she sported a bright red asymmetrical number to debut her baby bump at the 2011 VMA’s.

A champion for diversity and inclusivity

Perhaps Elbaz's biggest contribution to the industry was his desire to break boundaries by giving a voice to women who did not necessarily fit the pre-established mould of the industry. In a time where diversity was not 'of the moment' so to speak, the beloved designer was one of the only who made room for models of colour on his runways. His spring/summer 2011 collection was a testament to that.

Fast forward a decade later, after having been on a hiatus from fashion, Elbaz surprised many when he announced his return with the launch of his own size-inclusive label called AZ Factory.

In 2009 when speaking with the Guardian, the designer expressed his views about the importance of making fashionable clothes that would fit diverse body types:

I am overweight, so I am very, very aware of what to show and what not to show and I am sure there is a huge link with being an overweight designer and the work I do.

Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, which financially backed AZ Factory, said:

His inclusive vision of fashion made women feel beautiful and comfortable by blending traditional craftsmanship with technology – highly innovative projects which sought to redefine the industry.
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