Israeli designer Alber Elbaz, best known for spending 14 years at the helm of France's Lanvin fashion house, has died at 59, the luxury conglomerate Richemont said Sunday. A spokesperson for Richemont told CNN that Elbaz died Saturday from COVID-19. In a statement, Richemont's chairman Johann Rupert said "it was with shock and enormous sadness that I heard of Alber’s sudden passing. Alber had a richly deserved reputation as one of the industry’s brightest and most beloved figures. I was always taken by his intelligence, sensitivity, generosity and unbridled creativity. He was a man of exceptional warmth and talent, and his singular vision, sense of beauty and empathy leave an indelible impression."
Elbaz started to work in collaboration with Richemont in 2019 with the aim of launching his own label, AZfashion, reports the AP. Born in Morocco in 1961, Elbaz grew up in Israel before moving to New York in the 1980s. He first became known to the public when he was named to lead the French house Guy Laroche in Paris in 1996. In 1998, he became creative director at Yves Saint Laurent. He was credited with reviving Lanvin during his long stint there from 2001 to 2015. Women’s Wear Daily said he died at a Paris hospital, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted her "great sadness" at the news, saying Elbaz was "a talented, generous man. He loved Paris so much and will be missed." His death follows that of iconic French-Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada, who died of COVID at age 81 in October.
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