The extraordinary legacy of Alber Elbaz returns to Holon, Israel
When Alber Elbaz died of COVID-19 in April 2021, the world lost a designer whose rare talent was matched only by his warm humanity and humble nature. Now visitors can experience his extraordinary life like never before at the Design Museum Holon, near his childhood home in Israel.
“Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory” (September 15, 2022 – March 2023) takes over the entire museum, its nine gallery spaces filled with more than 100 sets, 300 photographs, previously unseen archives and personal items. In the opening gallery, acrobatic 3D knitted mannequins hover near another group in little black dresses. Nearby, a stage is set for a lively sleepover. These playful installations constitute the first collection of AZ Factory, and the only one designed by Elbaz. Revolutionary fashion start-up Elbaz launched in January 2021, just three months before his death at the age of 59, now invites a rotating series of “Amigos”. design unique collections; Lutz Huelle will present his collection for the brand during Paris Fashion Week.
“After carefully examining this collection, I realized that it could be a roadmap for Alber’s story,” remarks Ya’ara Keydar, curator of the exhibition. She, along with her former artistic director and longtime collaborator Katy Reiss, presented the collection through a framework of geographical locations that have shaped life in Elbaz, from Holon to Tangier, Paris and New York. “Under Katy’s magic wand, Holon turned into a sleepover and Paris into a couture fashion show,” Keydar joked.
Beyond this gallery, Elbaz’s evolution is pasted along a 180-foot hallway filled with fashion illustrations, enlightening quotes, childhood toys, and keepsakes like her pencil case. Black and white images, including that of a six-year-old boy with sparkling eyes, precede memories of his prolific career with Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche, Yves Saint Laurent and Lanvin. A phantom box even protects her Maison Bonne bow tie and “Alber” glasses, as well as a thimble that once belonged to Margit Singer, a seamstress at Auschwitz who survived the Holocaust thanks to her sewing skills. After his abrupt exit from Lanvin, Margit’s daughter gave him the thimble to remind him that no one could take away his talents in life.