Even four years after he was shockingly and suddenly pushed out of his high-profile creative director role at Lanvin, the industry hasn't forgotten about Alber Elbaz, who has always been one of fashion's most beloved (not to mention talented) figures. We've all been waiting for him to return to fashion in a permanent way, whether with his own brand or by taking the reins at an existing one, and now we know he's chosen the former.
On Friday, French luxury group Richemont announced that it will be launching a joint partnership with Elbaz called "AZfashion" (AlberelbaZfashion), which sounds like it will be a bit different from your typical fashion house. A press release describes the company as "an innovative and dynamic start up, meant to turn dreams into reality." It's not 100% clear what that means, but Elbaz offers a bit more insight:
"I am very happy to partner with Richemont and to establish my 'dream factory,' which will focus on developing solutions for women of our times," he said in a statement. "I am extremely excited to collaborate with good people, talented and smart individuals and look forward to also having a lot of fun with this new adventure."
"Upon hearing Alber Elbaz describe his vision for fashion and the projects it inspires in him, I was again struck by his creativity and insight," said Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont, whose other businesses include Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, Cartier, Chloé and Alaïa. "His talent and inventiveness, with his sensitivity towards women and their wellbeing, will be of great value to our Group and its Maisons. We warmly welcome Alber to Richemont and look forward to an exciting partnership."
Of course, Elbaz hasn't just been sitting at home all this time. He's been doing little one-off collaborations with the likes of Frédéric Malle, Converse, Le Sportsac and, most recently, Tod's. He's has hinted in interviews over the years that he's had an idea of how he wants to return full-time to fashion, but also that he's been fearful to do it, and it sounds like he's finally found a backer to make it happen the way he wants.