Designer Evolution: Alber Elbaz’s Path to Lanvin

We love Alber Elbaz and Lanvin (as evidenced here and here). So naturally, our talk about the designer’s work got us thinking — what twists and turn in his career took him to Lanvin?

YSL Spring 2000, Lanvin Fall 2009, and Lanvin Fall 2012

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?

Info Source: Voguepedia
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Designer Evolution: Special Edition! Christian Dior vs. Raf Simons

While there have been three other designers at the house of Dior besides Christian Dior and Raf Simons, there has not been this much anticipation for one in several years. Simons presented his first haute couture show as the new creative director of Dior yesterday and at first glance, it seems he definitely did his research on the history of the design house. His clean aesthetic translated seamlessly to the storied fashion house’s, often resembling Dior’s own designs. Here’s a few comparisons of Dior’s designs (on the left) to Simons’s from his show yesterday.

All Christian Dior design images from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

All Raf Simons design images from

Designer Evolution: Givenchy

The French couture house Givenchy has a storied history. Its founder and namesake, Hubert de Givenchy started his craft during the golden years of couture, working with Christian Dior and becoming the protegee of Cristobal Balenciaga. But really his beautiful designs would have never taken flight had it not been for Audrey Hepburn. His most famed muse, Hepburn only met Givenchy because he believed she was the already famous Katherine Hepburn. Yet her charm and well-mannered nature quickly won over Givenchy and he agreed to design her wardrobe for the film Sabrina. They would continue to work together for Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, thereby sealing his fate as one of fashion’s more sought after designers, dressing Jacqueline Kennedy, Grace Kelly and countless other actresses, royals, and socialites. At 85 the designer is still alive, but rarely makes public appearances. In 1995, Givenchy retired but the couture house’s story continued with some designers you might know. Here’s a glance at Givenchy through the years.

The Original

Givenchy’s designs made famous by Audrey Hepburn.

A Tale of Two Visionaries

After Hubert de Givenchy retired, John Galliano took over as creative director of Givenchy in 1996. The talented (yet infamous) designer was just beginning a lucrative career but it was not meant to last at Givenchy. After a few short months, Givenchy’s parent company LVMH shifted Galliano from Givenchy to Christian Dior where he would remain until last year. Givenchy was put into the hands of a then relatively unknown designer named Alexander McQueen. He would remain at Givenchy until 2001. Both designers would go on to start their own houses, finding fame with their dramatic couture shows and ingenious and imaginative designs. They were both named British Designer of the Year in 1997.

John Galliano for Givenchy

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy

Interim Term

Once Alexander McQueen left to start his own label, Givenchy appointed Julien Macdonald. Having to follow two of the most well-known designers of this generation at Givenchy was no easy feat for Macdonald. At his best times the designer brought back classic looks, focusing on simple designs and tailored looks.

Tisci Today

In 2005, LVMH took a gamble on a fresh-faced Italian designer named Riccardo Tisci–and won. Known for his gothic aesthetic and tailored precision, Tisci’s shows are one of fashion week’s highlights season after season.