Alber Elbaz Thinks It's Good That the High Street Copies Him

Not to say that designers are all alike, but Alber Elbaz definitely marches to the beat of his own drum--in a good way. While we look forward to Karl
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Dhani Mau
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Not to say that designers are all alike, but Alber Elbaz definitely marches to the beat of his own drum--in a good way. While we look forward to Karl
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Getty

Not to say that designers are all alike, but Alber Elbaz definitely marches to the beat of his own drum--in a good way. While we look forward to Karl Lagerfeld interviews for the insane and cat-related things he says, interviews with Elbaz are a joy because of his fresh, offbeat, not-egotistical perspective.

WSJ recently gave him their "Soapbox" and he had a surprising take on high street retailers' incessant knocking off of expensive designs like his own:

People are protesting about salaries and they can't afford to buy a home. There are a lot of companies that are taking what we are creating and translating them to the masses. So we cannot be accused of eating cake when the world needs to have bread. Because in our little domain, we create ideas that are being translated by High Street a season, or even an hour, later.

But don't think he's pissed about that:

I think the fact that we are the source of the High Street fashion is good. A year and a half ago I did a project with H&M, which is something I would never have done before, but I thought it was important. It was about giving something to people that they could not afford, something that they only dreamed about. And it felt good to know that 95 percent of the clothes had sold around the world within four hours.

Another new fashion phenomenon he discusses is designers not hating each other:

Before shows we send each other little cards with congratulations; we send each other flowers. [how cute!] We're kind of a crazy family, but still a family. There are many designers I really respect and love. I love Azzedine (Alaïa). I like Narciso (Rodriguez) and Marc (Jacobs) and Nicolas (Ghesquiére) from Balenciaga. The first collection Raf Simons did for Dior was gorgeous. I'm not jealous of people—I'm only jealous of people who can eat and not gain weight.

Truth be told, he'd rather not lose weight because he thinks it might affect the "lightness" of his designs. For real:

I think that because he [Geoffrey Beene] was overweight and I'm overweight, our fantasy was lightness. So we projected our fantasy to the clothes, and now all I do is light, light clothes because it's the one thing I don't have. That is why I'm too afraid to lose weight because then I might make heavy clothes. You are laughing, but I am not.

Read the rest of Elbaz's Soapbox here.