After a five-year absence from the fashion industry, the calendar couture Spring Summer 2021 announces the return of Alber Elbaz, former creative director of Lanvin, with his startup AZ Factory, born from a joint venture with the Richemont group. Elbaz however, he doesn’t want to call it a return to the fashion scene – in fact, he doesn’t really want to be talked about. “This project is not about me, my person, which is why it doesn’t bear my name,” he told Vogue via Zoom just before the collection was unveiled with a fashion film on January 26th. “It is a factory of producers, couturiers, creative directors, creators of images.” Here, the volcanic and beloved designer exposes us some of the life lessons that have led him today to create, as he defines it, “a beautiful and care-oriented fashion”.

1. Boredom is the best ingredient in creativity

“As much as I love fashion, I needed time away from the industry to think, dream and fall in love with it again. I found that when I was bored, I got to know myself better. It’s like a flower seed – it takes water and sun for photosynthesis to take place, but first, you have to go underground. “

2. Capsules are good for antibiotics, not collections

AZ Factory doesn’t make collections and I’ll never make capsules – I prefer to talk about stories. The zips on the back of the dress have a drawstring so women can fasten it themselves. The splints were inserted at the back instead of in front to promote good posture. “

3. You have to teach to learn

“I’ve tried a lot of new things in recent years: yoga (I’m too clumsy), weight lifting (my coach said I had an athlete’s brain but not a body), spent more time on the beach (boats are too unstable. for my taste). Then I started holding master classes around the world and I discovered a truly wonderful young generation, inside and out – they don’t eat junk food and are full of ideas ”.

4. Start each day with a purpose

“Coronavirus, locally grown, gluten-free, pre-collection, post-collection, fake news, Brexit… some of the words to take note of and not the best way to start the day. I love the term ‘reset’ and also ‘hope’ and ‘purpose’. I like the idea of ​​a fashion that offers solutions, that something luxurious can be accessible to everyone. “

5. Surround yourself with people who are different from you

“Until last year I traveled a lot. A trip that changed my way of thinking was the one in Palo Alto, California. I met engineers and inventors, and I thought I would never be able to talk to them because we speak a different language. But they too talked about beauty, emotions and intuition, and it made me think about technology differently. “

6. Make technology your muse – it doesn’t have to destroy dreams

“How is beauty defined in the digital age? Are they against each other or can we be alchemists and get them together? I wanted the sleeves of a dress to keep their volume, so I made the top half with a stiffer jersey. I made the pointy sneakers because many women I spoke to said they wanted shoes that lengthened the leg. The clothes must combine femininity and technology. “

7. Rules can protect or choke us

“I’ve always said that to play heavy metal, you have to know how to play Mozart – that’s the foundation. With AZ Factory I want to challenge our obsession with weight. I’m overweight too and I’ve always dressed in layers so no one would know what was underneath, but then I thought ‘Why hide?’ “

8. As my mother told me: be big and small

“I asked her what she meant; if he was saying I had to be skinny and not skinny. ‘No,’ he replied. ‘Be great in your work, in what you do, but be humble and simple in your everyday life’. I grew up with very little and I think this is the best legacy because you have values. “

9. There are too many likes in the world, we need more love

“Instead of transforming women and making them better versions of themselves, I want to make them feel loved – one of my starting points was: How can I make women in our dresses feel like someone is hugging them? Where do they like to feel the release of tension? Where do they want there to be different thicknesses in the fabric? “

10. Sometimes the biggest risk is not taking risks

“They offered me work in different fashion houses and it took courage to say no. I wanted to create, not recreate within the pre-established codes of a brand by referring to an archive. Building a start-up means taking risks. AZ Factory’s creations are nouvelle cousine, not a buffet. “

11. Learn to work with your instincts

“After the Spanish flu and the First World War, there was a peak of creativity in France known as les année folles (the crazy years), when Josephine Baker came to Paris and jazz became popular. Jazz is dialogue, it relies on instinct. I work instinctively and now, rather than the crazy years, we live in the smart years because we have learned that we cannot control nature – we are part of it. “

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