Alber Elbaz and his floppy bowtie are so adorable to look at that sometimes you forget the sheer genius that lies in his round smiling head. But Elbaz sat down with Style.com for the sixth installment of their “Future of Fashion” series and the resulting conversation forever removed any doubts. His thoughts were funny, nuanced, and also relatively based in reality — which is nice. For a designer with such a defined artistic vision, it’s especially fascinating to see how he balances the art of fashion with the business of fashion. Also, he unabashedly likes bloggers! We do have one quibble and that’s his stance on The Great Weight Debate, but we’ll let you read it for yourself.
On the commercialization of fashion:
I check the sales every morning, every morning, every morning. It’s not that I work on commission and I want to see how much I’m going to get tonight. It’s not about that. But I need to know if I’m doing something right…And I think that for me commercial is not a bad word. Commercial is not the word that has to be said only by CEOs. It has to be something that is maybe the essence of design, because design has some sort of art in it and creation, but it’s also some object that you have to use…You know, a dress without a zipper, even if it’s gorgeous, if there is no zip, you cannot get in.
About the speed at which one can become a “celebrity:”
You know, you can buy silicone, you can buy plastic, you can buy surgery. The only thing you cannot buy is muscles, because in order to have muscles you have to work hard, devote your life to it. This is the one thing that people still cannot buy.
On celebrity clothing lines and the fact that he is (thankfully!) not a fan:
I feel that some celebrities think that because they are famous, they can do fashion. Imagine if I want to be now a dancer. Trust me, I can’t. I can’t jump. I can’t even limp from one point to another. I feel that there is this kind of confusion. Everybody wants to do everything, everybody needs to do everything, and everybody feels that he can. And I’m still feeling that a dancer should dance and a chef should cook and a singer should sing and a designer of clothes should do clothes. Because the moment we try to do everything for ourselves, we’re becoming very mediocre in what we do, and we don’t go to extremes and we don’t touch excellence. And I prefer to touch excellence.
I have to tell you, I love bloggers. And I’m not telling you that because I’m [trying to] bribe them. Every morning I wake up and I see the blogs. There is something very innocent. There is something very honest. You can say, OK, they didn’t have the experience of seeing things. But again it’s another medium. That’s their opinion and it’s interesting to see how politically incorrect they are. Of course, when they say, “Oh my God, I love it,” I’m extremely happy. And when they say, “Oh my God, it’s a piece of shit,” I hate it…
On the Great Weight Debate:
We are being accused that some models are anorexic, but we as fashion designers cannot be blamed, because you know, when I talk to women around the world, rich and poor and young and old and intellectual and not, what they want to be is skinny. You ask them, what is your dream? It’s to be skinny. That’s all they want, so this is something that’s happening in the world. And you know what? Me, as a designer that is not exactly skinny, all I want is comfortable clothes. All I want is beautiful. I mean, I like gray hair, I love wrinkles.
Read the whole interview at Style.com.