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The BoF Podcast: Alber Elbaz: ‘We Remain an Industry That Creates Dreams’

OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — Before his sudden departure from Lanvin in 2015, Alber Elbaz was celebrated for transforming the once-ailing couture house into one of the most sought-after luxury labels in the world during his 14-year tenure.

In a stream-of-consciousness-style concoction of musings and observations from his career and what he’s learned since leaving Lanvin, Elbaz addressed the audience at VOICES 2018 with succinct insights that both amused and provoked thought.

“Fashion is always more of a family to me than an industry: a little bit dysfunctional but a great family,” he said. “For years, I thought I was hugging people with my clothes. Years later, I received all these hugs back.”

Covering topics from the unrealistic expectations on designers today (“In fashion, we run run run and we lose no calories”) to the image-obsessed culture (“What is it about this obsession of looking good? How about doing good and how about being good?”), Elbaz concluded his talk with a karaoke rendition of Aretha Franklin’s hit song “Respect,” cajoling the audience to join him on stage — but also reminding them of the importance of respect in the industry.

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