Alber (Albert) Elbaz was born in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1961. His father was a barber and his mother was a housewife who wished for her son to become an artist. When Elbaz was eight months old, his family moved to Holon, a city in Israel, just south of Tel Aviv. In 1974, Elbaz's father died, and his mother worked as a cashier as the sole breadwinner of his family. In the late 1970s, Elbaz, as well as all the local teenagers in Israel, served his term in the Israeli army.
As a child, Elbaz was an expert with improvisation and intended to become an actor. Instead of pursuing that career path, he entered the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv in 1982. Two years later, Elbaz went to New York with $800 and changed his name to Albert. He found his place creating evening dresses, and in 1989 he met Dawn Mello from Gucci, who introduced him to the designer Jeffrey Beene whom Elbaz eventually worked for for several years.
From 1996 to 1998, Elbaz worked in the house of Guy Laroche, Paris at the invitation of its president Ralph Toledano. In 1998 he landed a job in the house of Yves Saint Laurent, where he worked on the ready-to-wear line, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. His first collections were accompanied by mixed reviews from critics, and a year later when Yves Saint Laurent house was acquired by the Gucci Group, there were rumors about the imminent dismissal of Elbaz.
In 2000, he was replaced at Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford, and Elbaz briefly designed for Italian company Krizia. In 2001, the designer left the role and embarked on a trip to India, during which he had made more than 2,000 sketches. Desperate to find a job in the fashion industry, he thought about becoming a doctor, but soon was offered the position of creative director of the French fashion house Lanvin.
His debut collection for Lanvin received positive feedback, and in 2005, Elbaz won the prestigious International Designer Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and two years later, he received the Couture Council Artistry of Fashion Award for his achievements in the field of fashion. In 2010, Alber Elbaz presented Lanvin's collection for Swedish retailer H&M.
In 2015, Alber Elbaz has announced his retirement from the house of Lanvin. In 14 years, he managed to transform the oldest French fashion house with a centuries of tradition to a modern and commercially successful fashion brand that is not only popular in Europe, but also far beyond its borders. In 2016, he received the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour, and introduced a fragrance named "Superstitious" that he made with perfumer Frédéric Malle.
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