We can always count on Alber to warm the cockles of our heart. After all, this is the man who serenaded the crowd with “Que Será, Será” for Lanvin‘s tenth anniversary, danced around to Pitbull with Karen Elson and Raquel Zimmerman, and gamely allowed himself to be painted into a rack of his own designs for a Harper’s Bazaar spread. There is a reason it has become somewhat of a cliché among journalists to refer to him as a “teddy bear”: you’d be hard-pressed to find any detractors amongst the fashion set.
Which is why we were pleased to find that the designer came off as endearingly as ever in his latest interview with UK paper The Independent. Why do we love him? Let us count the ways:
1. He made sure everyone in his atelier was featured in the new Lanvin anniversary book. No surprise, given that this is the man who, when instructed to bring along the people who inspire him to a William Klein-lensed Bazaar shoot back in 2007, showed up with a bus full of staff right down to the company’s cleaning lady (by contrast, Miuccia Prada showed up alone):
“I wanted to show the people. All the people. We had 3,000 pictures in total and we picked the ones we liked, of course, and then we went back to make sure that every single person involved is in the book, that nobody had been missed out. They are all part of it.”
2. He hates the word ‘cool.’ A lot.
“I hate the word cool. It gives me a rash. If you take something out of the freezer it’s cold, but what happens when it melts? It’s a cool party, a cool person, a cool collection. What does that mean? I’m more interested in things that are uncool, things that have a certain individuality, a certain soul, a certain longevity, emotion, fragility…”
3. He credits much of his success at Lanvin with his independence. No corporate pig farmers here, folks!
“They are very good to me at Lanvin,” he explains. “They give me my liberty. If we were part of a group it might be easier for me in some ways. We live on what we sell. We don’t have anyone who says: ‘Don’t worry, we’ll inject another 100 million and do a big publicity campaign’. So I always say that we’re like a small yacht, not the Titanic, and that means we make our own decisions. Sometimes, when you work for big organisations, there are so many committees that you have to go through…”
4. He describes his new book thusly:
“I didn’t want to do a very, very big book,” Elbaz says, over a plate of magret de canard. “The book is small and fat. It’s me.”
5. He’s not one to delegate the dirty work:
“I start with drawings but I don’t give the sketches to the atelier and then say, ‘OK, I’ll see you, I’ll be in the Caribbean on the 17th and on the 18th I leave for Santa Fé’. No, I’m always in fittings, I’m always perfecting things. I’m always there.”
6. But seriously, don’t expect to see him sunning himself poolside anytime soon:
“You know, if you send me on vacation, I’m clueless, I can’t even climb from a dinghy to a yacht. Can you imagine me on the beach? Maybe if I was a skinny, handsome man my career would have been different. Maybe then I would have been more, like, ‘Hellooo, look at my dresses’.”
We, on the other hand, are not above such displays. Hellooooo, look at these dresses!