The final show of Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2022 was a tribute to the beloved designer Alber Elbaz, who passed away earlier this year from COVID-19. Hosted by AZ Factory, the fashion label he founded in January of this year, the show satisfied one of Alber’s unfulfilled dreams, to recreate an exhibit that heavily inspired him, the French théâtre de la mode. However, his vision was slightly different from the display of mannequins dressed by top Parisian designers. Instead Alber wished to reunite the best talent of the industry to promote love, beauty and hope. AZ Factory fulfilled the grand wish by inviting 45 designers to come together to present ‘Love Brings Love’.
Elbaz is most known for his work as the creative director for the French fashion house Lanvin where he served as the head from 2001 to 2015. His designs were loved by many women in adjacent industries and his presence catapulted Lanvin to become a top Parisian fashion house. In 2007, he snagged a spot on the list of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and the designs of Alber brought freshness and the power of feminine energy to the industry’s runway.
Each designer was invited to create a single look for the show, inspired by their fond memories of Alber and his presence in their lives. Together, the designs formed a collection reminiscent of Alber’s best work and distinct design elements that he coined. Christopher John Rogers was one of the forty-five designers who sent a look down the Parisian runway. “His energy and enthusiasm for his work and the women that he dressed will stay with me forever,” Rogers said in a release.
Off-White’s Virgil Abloh designed Look 27, which was a reinterpretation of a design from Alber’s Lanvin Spring 2008 RTW collection. In true Abloh fashion, he added an oversized paper clip to the shoulder of the dress and sent the model down the runway in an exaggerated hat resembling a classic fitted cap. Other designers also referenced Alber’s previous work and incorporated it into their look, like Bruno Sialelli, Lanvin’s current creative director, who constructed an off-white colored dress that moved beautifully and was printed with an enlarged picture of Alber Elbaz. Anthony Vaccarello of Saint Laurent and Rosie Assoulin both created designs that were a nod to Alber’s usual uniform including his signature pink bow tie.
Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, designed Look 5, another take on Alber’s fuschia pink mixed with Olivier’s power shoulders. South African designer Thebe Magugu was behind Look 37, and British designer Grace Wales Bonner constructed a beautifully tailored tux paired with a red button down for Look 45. “Alber brought a generosity of spirit to his masterful tailoring,” Bonner said in a release. “An inspiring sense of romanticism and joy, fused with timeless elegance.”
After the last look from the selected 45 designers were sent down the runway, Alber’s design team at AZ Factory created a number of looks in his honor to close the show. For the finale, each model was placed within a cubicle surrounding a portrait of Elbaz while they danced to ‘Love Train’ by The O’Jays. The joyful emotion brought the guests to their feet to end the celebratory runway show with a standing ovation.