In memoriam: Alber Elbaz

Tim Walker. Alber Elbaz with model in Lanvin, 2009
Alber Elbaz with model in Lanvin, 2009. Photo: Tim Walker. Image: The New Yorker.

Farewell to Alber Elbaz, the beloved designer for Guy Laroche, Saint Laurent, and Lanvin.

Read his New York Times obituary.

Chaque femme est une apparition: Carmen Kass photographed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino for Guy Laroche by Alber Elbaz Fall 1998 advertising campaign
Alber Elbaz for Guy Laroche Fall 1998 advertising campaign. Model: Carmen Kass. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Image: Vogue Archive.

Another Guy Laroche Pattern by Alber Elbaz?

Detail of Vogue 2368 by Guy Laroche, possibly by Alber Elbaz

Last week the fashion world was shocked by the news that Alber Elbaz had been dismissed as creative director of Lanvin. (See British Vogue or Bridget Foley for WWD.)

Before his positions at Lanvin and Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Alber Elbaz designed four seasons for Guy Laroche. (Fall 1997 to Spring 1999; see my earlier post here.) The recent news got me thinking about a Guy Laroche pattern that could also be by Elbaz.

Vogue 2368 is so rare that I didn’t see it in time for my first post. It’s a simple, formal design: a sleeveless dress with a big flower at the tucked, asymmetrical neckline:

1990s Guy Laroche cocktail or evening dress pattern by Alber Elbaz? - Vogue 2368
Vogue 2368 by Guy Laroche (1999) Image: PatternVault Shop.
Technical drawing for Vogue 2368 by Guy Laroche
Technical drawing for Vogue 2368

Here’s the envelope description: Semi-fitted, straight, lined, sleeveless dress, below mid-knee or evening length, has neckline tucks, side zipper and back hemline slit. Purchased flower. Recommended fabrics are silk-like crepe, lightweight wool crepe, and satin-backed crepe.

Vogue 2368 was released in late 1999 — earlier than Vogue 2497, a design from Elbaz’ Spring 1999 farewell collection for Laroche. It doesn’t match any of the runway looks from Elbaz’ four Laroche collections, but the palette, neckline detail, and especially the flower (an Elbaz signature at Laroche and Lanvin) seem persuasive. What do you think?

15 Oct 1998 --- GUY LAROCHE: SPRING-SUMMER 1999 PRET A PORTER COLLECTION --- Image by © Thierry Orban/Sygma/Corbis
Guy Laroche SS 1999 © Thierry Orban/Sygma/Corbis.
Men's Lanvin flower pin in red wool felt
Lanvin flower pin. Image: LuisaViaRoma.
Men's Lanvin flower pin in fabric and leather
Lanvin flower pin. Image: Mr Porter.