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.”
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)