Alber Elbaz struck a philosophical note about his departure from French fashion house Lanvin this morning at the Condé Nast International Conference, as he delivered a heartfelt speech about the importance of designers in an age of increasing autonomy.
“Without designers there are not going to be dreams, and without dreams there is no fashion, and without dreams, there are no perfumes. When we designers create, we must first start with a dream and intuition. Marketing comes later, not before – I repeat: marketing comes later, not before. Using intuition is risky and I know that making a mistake can be costly, and I know shareholders might fire you for making these mistakes. But some of the best innovation in the world happened because someone trusted their intuition and went for it.”
The designer was at the CNI Conference to promote his first venture since leaving Lanvin in 2015 – a highly publicized exit that resulted in staff revolts and a period of turmoil before his replacement, Bouchra Jarrar, was appointed in 2016 – a perfume collaboration with Frédéric Malle. The new fragrance, Superstition, the “scent of a dress”, affords him a calmer existence compared to fashion he said.
“With fashion, there is too much fear, not enough time, and not enough love,” he said. “Perfume is all about love and not fear. They’re about memories, being loved and loving someone else.”