Designer Dish. Alber Elbaz Talks Fashion At UNESCO.

September 25, 2009 • Fashion


Alber Elbaz at the UNESCO conference

With the kick off of Milan Fashion Week yesterday, everyone who's anyone in the global fashion world is trying to get into the Italian city. Well, almost everyone. Chief designer at Lanvin, Alber Elbaz was actually leaving Milan yesterday to head about 45 minutes away to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization conference. Elbaz was picked to discuss the current issues facing the fashion industry to a group of about 200 international delegates and dignitaries, whom he charmed with his amiable, distinctive style. After telling his audience he was there to "tell the story of fashion," Elbaz kept the discussion mostly light with jokes and playful jabs at himself and his self-proclaimed weight problem. Fashion, he said, is a marathon and designers “work very hard, but we
lose no calories, unfortunately.” Later likening fashion to cooking, he
said: “If we cut the butter, we can make it better.”

But the undertones behind his lighthearted facade were serious—he touched on the pressing points of globalization and the neverending
pace of a designer's annual schedule
, stating, “In the music industry, you can have a lifetime career with one great
album,” he said. “We’re only as good as our next collection — in other
words, no credibility at all.” In regard to the growing superficiality of design as made by the internet, Elbaz lamented over the loss of actual talent to the teeming masses of flash in the pan sensations. “Do you know anyone who wants to be a seamstress? Do you know anyone
who wants to be a tailor?” he asked the audience incredulously. “I
don’t, either. But I do know many people who want to be models, and not
only models, but supermodels. This is the game today: Be famous, and do
it really, really fast.
” He stated that he hoped the craft skills of the fashion industry would return to their roots, but emphasized that he in no way supported tradition over progress.

Elbaz finished off his talk by describing his regular work day to his audience, in hopes of dashing any preconceived notions that designers have got it easy. He illustrated his routine as up at six in the morning with strong
black coffee to coax out the stories, innovations and newness that feed
consumer desire and keep business humming. Following an enthused and grateful response from the conference, Elbaz then dashed himself into a a plane to get back to the Lanvin studio in Paris, punctuating the points of his discussion by saying,“I feel like a mother of 10 kids who are staying in Paris and crying
for food. Even here in a time of
Internet and machines, not everything can be done by remote control.
” Thank goodness for that.

Article and Photo Source: WWD
-Alia Rajput

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