I have had the pleasure of talking to Alber Elbaz so many times in his 14 years as creative director/fashion designer at Lanvin.
In fact, I must have have known him for two decades – not in his Geoffrey Beene days in New York, although that great designer of active clothes for real women left a mark on his young protégé.
But I was there in Paris to see Alber break bud at Guy Laroche and then take on Yves Saint Laurent. I understand better now than at the time the importance to Alber of breaking up the YSL carapace of perfection – the controlling tailoring, the perfect accessories, the lush red lips.
At Lanvin, he has been respectful to the founder Jeanne Lanvin, whom he has brought back to life with curator Olivier Saillard at a current show at the Palais Galliera in Paris.
I asked Alber if he thought technology could ever take over from creative, human hands.
He was very funny, saying that “it depends on the creator and on the computer. I don’t think I need a T-shirt that tells me when I am hungry – I know when I am hungry!”
Do watch the video we did together at the Condé Nast International conference in Florence.
Alber Elbaz said: “We are living in an industry that is always about the next thing: who is the next person? It should be more about collaborating, working together, taking the best of each world.”