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PASSING THE TORCH: Gone, but not forgotten. At least one guest at Bouchra Jarrar’s debut show for Lanvin was keen to honor the new creative director’s predecessor, Alber Elbaz.

“If I’m here, it’s for the Lanvin house, for France, for fashion, to wish Bouchra good luck and also to pay homage to Alber in a way, because Bouchra’s first collection absolutely does not erase all of the fantastic work done by Alber, whom I pay homage to, really. It’s not at all incompatible,” said Nathalie Rykiel.

Elbaz was ousted from Lanvin last year after a 14-year tenure. The designer was reported to have clashed with the company’s majority shareholder, Shaw-Lan Wang, and chief executive officer Michèle Huiban. Rykiel appeared in contemplative mood following the recent loss of her mother, Sonia Rykiel, following a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.

“Fashion is very hard and has a life of its own, and I think when you’re a part of that universe, you stand firm and you’re aware that it’s an extremely changing universe that eats us alive, that’s ruthless, but that goes on and is stronger than us on some level. It’s like life. Life, fashion — they go on. And I think Alber did a fantastic job. I adore the man,” the fashion executive and author said.

Elbaz was among the mourners at Sonia Rykiel’s funeral earlier this month, alongside Peter Copping, Jean-Marc Loubier, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Sidney Toledano, Didier Grumbach and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

He was one of 30 designers who created special looks for a catwalk show in 2008 commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Sonia Rykiel brand. Elbaz accessorized his beige-and-black bustier dress with an oversize rag doll sporting a flaming orange wig, in a nod to Rykiel’s signature hairstyle. Rykiel and Elbaz had another thing in common: both designed capsule collections for Swedish high-street chain H&M.

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