“When things are not great, we need fashion,” said Alber Elbaz to camera, introducing his much-anticipated new label AZ Factory via a film at Paris Couture Week last night.
The Paris-based Moroccan designer departed his position as creative director of Lanvin back in 2015, following a 14-year tenure in which he was much loved by editors and celebrities alike for his playful yet elegant take on clothes.
While his Lanvin pieces were full of drama and whimsy, Elbaz’s new brand, a joint venture with French luxury conglomerate Richemont, is altogether more streamlined, with an intention to deliver “purposeful, solutions-driven fashion that works for everyone,” said Elbaz in the show notes.
“Our products are here to solve problems and create joy. Help, not hinder.” It’s also worlds away from Lanvin in terms of the price tags, which start at a much more recession-friendly £180.
As such, a third of the collection, ‘My Body,’ centred on the most functional item in every woman’s wardrobe: the Little Black Dress. Elbaz’s LBDs came in sporty silhouettes with signature gold zippers and were constructed from an innovative knitwear technology, designed to support, sculpt and gently hug in all the right places - no doubt something we could all do with a bit more of post-lockdown.
The rest was equally practical: ‘Super tech-Super Chic’ gave activewear elevated with couture fabrics and techniques, while ‘Switchwear’ promised easy transitions “from leisurewear to fabulous” in less than a minute - think a black bodysuit and sneakers instantly made cocktail party-ready via the addition of a voluminous red duchesse satin skirt.
AZ Factory may have lacked some of the Lanvin couture magic, but it certainly delivered wardrobe solutions that felt relevant to our current reality.
The MyBody collection, which comes in sizes XXS to 4XL, is available to purchase now on Farfetch and Net-a-Porter exclusively, with the other capsules set to drop later this spring.
To celebrate the launch, a 30-minute TV segment “The Talk Show with Alber Elbaz & Friends,” featuring guests Kristin Scott Thomas, Camille Razat, Rachel Khoo and Charli Howard will be live-streamed on Net-a-Porter at 2pm GMT today. Tune in here.