Alber Elbaz Wants You to Fall in Love in His Clothes

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Photo: Julian Mackler/BFAnyc.com/BFA NYC

In an extended and oh-so-quotable interview with the Business of Fashion today, the Lanvin designer is positively bursting with sound bites. He tells the fashion writer Colin McDowell, “I remember a customer once said to me, ‘Alber, whenever I wear one of your dresses, men fall in love with me.’ And I said, ‘Next time you wear one of your Lanvin dresses, I want you to fall in love with a man.’ She said, ‘What’s the difference?’ So I said, ‘Active and passive.’" Elbaz also had some thoughts about getting fired, being neurotic, and our favorite trend, pizza. 

On comfort food:
“After working long hours, you get home, you want food that will give you a warm hug and nothing does that better than a pizza or burger. Nothing!”

On being fired from Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford:
“YSL was like a death somehow. As you know, I am a drama queen. Everything moves me, anything can please me and anything can upset me. At the time, the YSL affair affected me deeply and I was very depressed. I decided to have a year and a half without work and it gave me time to think about my life and my career. The big question was, ‘Do I want to stay in fashion, or study to be a doctor?’”

On pre-collections, a practice he claims to have started:
“It was the biggest mistake I have ever made. I now believe pre-collections have demoted fashion, because we use it to give women what they want, not what they would long to have,” says Elbaz. “Also, pre-collections are completely trend-led. “‘What do you need?’ ‘A straight skirt.’ ‘For how much?’ ‘400.’ ‘You need a bag?’ ‘Fine.’ This isn’t a designer’s work. Why don’t the business people design it? They know what they want.”

On his famous hypochondria:
"I am a true hypochondriac. I go to [the] hospital if I even have a pimple!"

On the benefits of being a little neurotic:
"Fashion is like life. It needs fear and uncertainty if you are to move forward.”

On whether he'd ever leave Lanvin:
“What does it matter? I am happily married to the house of Lanvin. Would you ask a happily married man if he was contemplating moving out to find another partner?”