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September 20, 2022 2:25 pm

Exhibit About Moroccan-Israeli Fashion Designer Alber Elbaz Opens Near His Childhood Home in Holon

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The late fashion designer Alber Elbaz appears at the end of his Spring/Summer 2016 women’s ready-to-wear fashion show for Lanvin in Paris, France, October 1, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

An exhibition about the life and creative work of fashion designer and former Lanvin creative director Alber Elbaz opened on Sept. 15 in the Israeli city of Holon, where he spent his childhood.

“Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory,” at the Design Museum Holon is the most extensive exhibition about the designer, who was born in Casablanca, Morocco, and grew up in Holon. The exhibit takes over the entire museum, featuring nine galleries that spotlights more than 100 of Elbaz’s designs, 300 photographs, personal items and never-before-seen archival material, including images of Elbaz as a child and sketches from his childhood, according to Vogue.

The first gallery in the exhibit features clothing from AZ Factory, the label Elbaz launched in January 2021 three months before he died at the age of 59 from COVID-19. Another room in the exhibit is called “Love is Love,” which was the same name as the Paris fashion show held in Elbaz’s honor after his death.

Original couture looks from the “Love Brings Love” tribute show are on display in a multi-media format specially designed for the exhibit. Visitors will see many of the designs showcased at the Paris fashion show and created by 46 of the world’s leading designers, including Gucci, Balenciaga, McQueen, Valentino, Versace and Dior.

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The exhibit also includes a 180-foot corridor that highlights quotes, childhood toys, fashion illustrations and mementos, including Elbaz’s trademark bowtie and glasses, a pencil case, and a thimble gifted to him that once belonged to Margit Singer, a seamstress who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp due to her sewing skills. The hallway ends with a gold lamé dress Elbaz designed for actress Meryl Streep, who wore the gown when she won her Academy Award for “The Iron Lady” in 2012. Streep gifted the dress to the museum.

Elbaz, who was the creative director of Lanvin from 2001 to 2015, also worked with Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent throughout his career.

The exhibit’s creative director, Katy Reiss, worked with Elbaz for 15 years and directed the “Love Brings Love” fashion show in Paris. Reiss told Vogue that she and Ya’ara Keydar, the exhibit’s curator, tried to hold back from making the exhibit too sentimental or comprehensive.

“Alber shivered at the thought of a retrospective,” Reiss said. “He told me he wanted people to see how he works, why he works, and the love he has for his work. It felt important to share an overview but not dwell too much …We want people to go through a whirlwind of emotions and leave smiling.”

Keydar added, “Alber was known not only for his unique talent and visionary approach but for his rare ability to touch people’s hearts. We hope to do the same and inspire visitors to dream forward.”

“Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory” will remain open at the Design Museum Holon until March 2023.

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