A self-confessed workaholic (though he hates the expression), Elbaz explains he has only had three weekends off since August. The pace shows no sign of slowing, with a series of further anniversary celebrations planned, including a fashion show in Beijing on April 26.
For now, he is still basking in the afterglow of the Paris event, where—backed by retro orchestra Pink Martini—the designer took to the microphone to sing Doris Day’s classic “Que Sera, Sera,” winning a standing ovation from a crowd including Jessica Alba, Tilda Swinton and Pharrell Williams.
It was a song with a message in a season that saw fashion’s revolving door spin faster, with changes at the helm of Jil Sander and Yves Saint Laurent.
“I think it was a very relevant song for today in fashion, when everybody is very busy, or maybe too busy, in speculation,” Elbaz explains. “I thought it would be a nice song to sing also for all my colleagues, to tell them and to tell all of us: You know what? We cannot see the future.”
The performance capped one of his most flamboyant Lanvin shows in recent memory, which saw models vamping it up in cocktail dresses drowning in oversize frills and whimsical floral print dresses paired with brightly colored furs.
“It was about these archival pieces, and bringing them back with joy and freedom,” he says. “We are living in a controlled society today, and I didn’t feel like having control—I felt like having anything goes.”
The irony is that by the time Elbaz finished giving television interviews after the show, he had practically missed his own party.
“Pink Martini wasn’t there anymore, and the food was long gone,” he says. “So I asked to have a sandwich, and it was midnight and I left. And only the day later, they showed me the video with all the people dancing and having so much fun, and I loved seeing it.”
The public outpouring of affection that Elbaz provokes is a measure of his critical and commercial success. In his decade at Lanvin, he has transformed the label into a go-to resource for celebrities and professional women alike. Lanvin’s 2011 revenues, exclusive of licensing royalties, rose 24 percent to 204 million euros (about $270 million).
The designer says he felt he made his mark from his very first show for the house. “And it just went like an evolution, because I always say that I prefer evolution to revolution,” he notes. That incremental approach has sometimes put him at odds with a fashion system that’s always crying for novelty, but Elbaz shrugs off the criticism.
“I sometimes read bloggers, and sometimes they will say, ‘This looks too familiar because we saw it last season.’ But you know, it’s like the Chanel suit. I mean, it’s a Chanel suit, and an Hermès Kelly bag is an Hermès Kelly bag. This is a little bit my vocabulary,” he says.
His most recent coup was dressing both best actress Meryl Streep and best actor Jean Dujardin for the Oscars. Elbaz says Dujardin was a longtime fan of the label, but he has yet to meet Streep, for whom he was asked to design a dress made of eco-certified fabric as part of Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge.
“The seamstress that made the dress worked for three days and three nights on the dress, and after she finished, she was sick for three days,” he recalls. “And you know, with the Oscars, you do the dress and you never know if they will wear it. I wanted so much for [Streep] to wear it, just for this woman that didn’t go to sleep for three days, and just put so much love into the dress.”
That self-effacing approach is one of the keys to his success.
“I always say that my job is to be like a concierge in a beautiful hotel,” Elbaz says. “At the end of the day, I need to go back home to Staten Island. I don’t want to live on Park Avenue, because if I did that, I would live the dream, and the dream would become reality. And I think that maintaining the dream is the most important thing.”
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion