We've always thought that the self-deprecating, roly-poly, ever-endearing designer Alber Elbaz is something like the female-whisperer. Somehow, this man knows exactly what it is women want in all our facets, from the side of us that still loves to play dress-up, to the side of us that just wants to get out of the house in one piece in the morning. WWD just completed an amazing interview with the designer here (subscription required), but we've pulled some of the choicest excerpts that make us think that Alber has some magical run-in with a hairdryer and a bathtub and can hear what's going on insider our brains.
On why he loves making dresses: "I think that I was very alert to women, and I am seeing more and more that women are changing. Their lifestyle is becoming more and more complex and more and more difficult on a daily basis. So, I was trying always to simplify their life. For instance, a lot of people said [the dresses in the first collection] were very romantic. I didn’t see the romantic side of the dresses; I saw the easiness, the simplicity. I saw waking up in the morning and having your kids, and your husband, and your mother on the phone, and your work calling you, that was before the SMS, like 10 years ago, now they do that as well. Women need something a little bit more easy in their wardrobe, instead of thinking every morning what goes with what, they just zip it in and at night zip it out."
On why he started his bridal collection: "One day I hear some friend of mine is getting married and she was not like 31, but like 51, and they got married in a little house in the South of France. She didn’t want to look like Cinderella, and I said, 'Oh wow, I am going to start working on that.'"
On why he started his children's line: "After I had 14 out of 20 people in the whole studio going to have a baby, I thought maybe it is time. It seemed like everyone around me became a mother; I thought that it is time to dress the daughters."
On his cocktail dresses: "I like the dream, like fantasy dresses. Women can dream at 9 in the morning and at 10 o’clock at night, it doesn’t matter. I think it is also important for me to make it pragmatic and practical and wearable. I always say, 'If you can’t eat it, it’s not food, and if you can’t wear it, it’s not fashion, it is something else.'"
On the "modern aesthetic": "Modernity is not black leather, and modernity is not 17 zippers and modernity is not rock ’n’ roll or heavy metal. Modernity for me is beautiful and emotional and comfortable and timeless. I mean, to see a woman sitting on 50 meters of tulle, I am not sure it’s modern."
On Charlize Theron, Demi Moore, and Julianne Moore: "I meet them not during red carpet, not when they are doing a movie. I meet them when they finish shooting or before they start. They always think they will never work again and they are so fragile and so vulnerable and so beautiful and so sensitive and smart, and l love them because I meet them in moments of truth."
On why his shows are always such a hit: "I always think if I were an editor and I was invited to a show and I would have to wait for 45 minutes in the dark or in the cold or in the heat, maybe I would like to have a fresh drink or a piece of chocolate. Maybe I would love to enjoy a sandwich. I think it is something very easy, very personal, something I would like to enjoy and I want to make other people feel comfortable. That’s all!"
Photo: Courtesy of WWD