Alber Elbaz Loves Watching Reality TV, Doesn’t ‘Do’ E-Mail

We love Kim Hastreiter. We also love Alber Elbaz. Put the two of them together and it’s one big festival of love and good will.

No really. When Hastreiter, the editor of Paper Magazine, sat down with Elbaz, designer of Lanvin, her interview produced more of a conversation between old friends than a designer Q&A. We’re having trouble deciding whether or not that’s because Elbaz is so famously comfortable with everyone or because the two are actually old friends. Hastreiter met Elbaz when he was an assistant to Geoffrey Beene. Herein, the two talk about everything from being famous to reality television shows to making soup. (OK. That last one is more figurative than anything else, but it’s still a pretty great moment.)

On the Internet:

KH: I know that you’re a Luddite: no email, no Internet.

AE: It’s not that I don’t like technology. My brain just doesn’t capture it. I cannot drive, I cannot bike, nor do email. My boyfriend of 18 years thinks I stayed with him all these years because he helps me with the remote control. Maybe I’m dyslexic or something.

On whether or not Elbaz is famous:

KH: How do you feel about being somewhat of a celebrity these days?

AE: I’m not a celebrity. I’m far from it.

KH: But you’re famous; when you walk down the street, people come up to you.

AE: At least I can say that maybe I got a little bit of fame because of something I’ve done. I didn’t buy the fame from a reality show — not that I have anything against reality shows. I actually love them and watch all of them. But we’ve created a new job in our world lately, which is called “being famous.” Fame today is not a result of something you’ve done. It’s a new profession. “What do you do for a living?” “I’m famous.” Imagine asking a kid, “What does your dad do?” “Oh, my dad is famous.” Fame is becoming very, very important. I mean, everyone wants to be famous, basically. Which is why I think that we have to be relevant today, which was another reason why we did this project with H&M. I’m no celebrity. At 10 o’clock at night, I’d rather be at home.

On powerful, strong women:

KH: What kind of woman do you love? What kind of woman do you relate to?

AE: I never had a muse or said, “Oh my God, my woman is that and that and she has to be seven and a half feet tall and she has to weigh three kilograms.” When some women tell me that they are so into their careers that they’re living in an airport, I’m like, “Fabulous, go for it.” Then other women tell me, “I have a baby and I want to stay home for two years,” and I’m like, “Fabulous!” I think that women have gotten stronger. I’m not talking about more powerful — there is a big difference between power and strength. I think men are powerful, I think women are strong. When you are powerful, you buy, you sell, you have it, you lose it, it’s external; and I think that strength comes from a different place. It’s internal.

Internally, we think this is a pretty great interview. We think you should read the whole thing here.

Guru: Alber Elbaz [Paper Magazine]

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