Is Alber Elbaz the Jay Leno of fashion?
As reported, the designer is to unveil his long-awaited AZ Factory project at 8 p.m. on Jan. 26 with a film during couture week in Paris, and will follow it up immediately with “The AZ Factory World Tour” — billed as an an immersive, virtual experience — then a live broadcast the following day of “The Talk Show with Alber Elbaz & Friends.”
The “World Tour” and “Talk Show” — the first volleys of his new digital and entertainment-driven approach to fashion — are to go live respectively on Farfetch.com and Net-a-porter.com, his exclusive distribution partners, in addition to AZ Factory’s own direct-to-consumer website.
“It is a product-focused and a communications-focused project, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring it to the world in a fabulous, entertainment-driven way with two of the leaders of the digital luxury world,” Elbaz said in a statement.
A venture between Elbaz and Compagnie Financière Richemont, AZ Factory bills itself as a pioneer in launching a fashion brand “in an innovative format that promises to be educational, emotional, and of course, beautiful.”
The “World Tour” and “Talk Show” are described as “two special experiences that will bring the brand story to life via interactive, content-led concepts that are unique to each online player’s own DNA and audience.”
Sheena Sauvaire, chief marketing officer at Net-a-porter.com, said the talk show would be “an irreverent spin on an analogue TV format inviting VIP guests to discuss what makes us happy through the themes of fashion, science and body positivity.”
Elbaz has “created a wholly new approach to launching a brand at a time when our industry is evolving and consumers are looking for escapism,” according to Sauvaire, who also highlighted a “shared belief that fashion should be joyous and uplifting.”
The “World Tour,” meanwhile, was conceived amid a pandemic that has made travel and gatherings nearly impossible.
“The next best thing was to use our creativity and technology to bring our customers on tour and let them jump on board, take a tour of the incredible collection, and help spread a feeling of joy and togetherness,” said Holli Rogers, chief brand officer at Farfetch.com. “The values of the brand — love, trust, respect and treating customers as friends, along with the desire to experiment and try new things — resonated strongly with our own values.”
AZ Factory is sure to be one of the most closely watched ready-to-wear debuts in 2021, marking Elbaz’s full return to the fashion scene more than five years after he exited Lanvin. His fashion start-up has been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted the industry in myriad ways.
Elbaz has been keeping details of his venture under wraps, posting some videos of working sessions on AZ Factory’s Instagram feed, and his personal account. These have a playful, irreverent spirit, with the designer sometimes obscuring his face with a cartoon likeness.
He lifted the lid on a new brand name and visual identity in November.