1979: Elbaz serves in the Israeli Army for 3 years. The term is mandatory. And because he has asthma, Elbaz is put in charge of entertainment.
1982: Studies Fashion Design at the Shenkar College of Textile Technology and Fashion.
1985: Moves to New York where he takes a job designing what he later calls “horrible mother-of-the-bride dresses.” He also drops the “t” off the end of his name at this time. He says this is because Judaism associates changing your name with changing your destiny.
1987: Begins working for Geoffrey Beene. Credits Beene with teaching him many things, including artful draping and rejection of trends.
1996: Hired as Creative Director of French Couture house Guy Laroche. Elbaz is praised for adding a contemporary touch to the collections without alienating the house’s older clients.
1998: Begins designing ready-to-wear for Yves Saint Laurent. “For me,” says Elbaz, “this isn’t a career move, but the realization of my life’s dream.”
2000: Dismissed from YSL and replaced by Tom Ford when the Gucci Group takes over YSL. This happens despite the fact that Saint Laurent was reportedly grooming Elbaz to inherit the house.
2001: Takes a sabbatical to travel through India and the Far East after a short-lived design stint at Krizia in Italy.
2001: Named Creative Director of Lanvin. Of his first collection, Vogue’s Andre Leon writes: “The debut of Alber Elbaz at that house was an elegant reality check — we could practically hear a crack of thunder over the Petit Palais.”
Did anything about Alber Elbaz’s career path surprise you?