Alber Elbaz on the runway after Lanvin's spring 2013 show at Les Beaux-Arts de Paris.

IN MEMORIAM: French newspapers paid tribute to Alber Elbaz on Monday, two days after his untimely death at the age of 59, which provoked an outpouring of grief on social media.

Le Figaro, Libération and Le Monde all flagged Elbaz’s passing on their front pages. 

“The couturier who celebrated life,” titled Le Figaro, in a story highlighting the designer’s joie de vivre, his lucid view of the fashion industry, and his knack for pithy quotes. 

In an editorial, editor Anne-Sophie von Claer recalled his love of jazz music and good food, and how Elbaz — a self-confessed hypochondriac — coped with the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, regretting the days when couture houses were “places where you spent your time kissing each other.”

Le Monde quoted Elie Top, who met Elbaz at Saint Laurent and later went on to create jewelry for him at Lanvin, explaining how the designer motivated his teams. “He was a perfect mentor. He knew how to shake me and push me toward new creative shores,” Top was quoted as saying.

“Our relationship was nurtured by a great mutual admiration. He knew how to thank his teams and he had tremendous charisma, which is the mark of great artistic directors, like Yves Saint Laurent,” he added.

In a two-page feature, Libération said Elbaz’s world was synonymous with joy. It noted how the designer, who was self-conscious about his weight, developed his signature look of bow tie and rectangular glasses that he often represented in caricatures — the latter inspiring the logo of his latest venture, AZ Factory, which included a round face with large black eyes. 

Babeth Djian, editorial director and founder of Numéro magazine, forged a close personal and professional bond with Elbaz as stylist for his Lanvin shows.

“Words can’t express my grief,” she said on the magazine’s French website. “From the moment we met more than 20 years ago, I was touched by his generosity, his warmth and his immense talent. We have lost not just a designer, but also a great ally to all women.”

She recalled a friendship filled with passion and raucous laughter. “Alber was my accomplice, my soul brother,” Djian said. “We understood each other at a glance — no words were necessary. His warm and tender presence, and his laughter, etched in my memory and in my heart, will always stay with me.”

See also:

Alber Elbaz Dies at 59

A Look Back at Alber Elbaz’s Most Memorable Quotes

The Industry Reacts to Alber Elbaz’s Passing

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