But it’s his modest, his nearly self-effacing nature that has earned
him across the board respect from his peers in a world hardly known for its
kindness. You might find Alber strolling through the Hôtel de Crillon
towards his favorite lunchtime table Au Bar, where white-clad waiters all
know him by name. You might see him in a vintage clothes store, his assistant
in tow, rummaging through the inventory for ideas and inspiration. Or you
might spot him, boutonniere pinned to his tuxedo, in the company of any
number of the Hollywood set. The one thing you will always find is an entourage
that has nothing but good to say of him.
Among many of his ardent fans, the most vocal in singing his praise
has consistently been Pierre Bergé, Cofounder of the House of Yves Saint Laurent. When
questioned about the success of Lanvin by a French TV reporter before the
House’s most recent Ready-to-Wear show in early March, Bergé chalked
it up to the fact that the fashion world was increasingly beginning to realize
And if his route has been somewhat circuitous, via Geoffrey Been, Guy Laroche,
Saint Laurent, and Krizia, it is at Lanvin where Alber has come into his
own. renewing the label with fresh codes that speak to the chic elegant woman
Alber, who is of Israeli origin, was denied a Green Card for the US
only because of a processing error with Immigration. His home is now
Paris, but he’s not French. He once mentioned that he had the
thought, normally en route to or from the airport, that he was not
a citizen of any particular nation. And perhaps that explains his collections
for Lanvin, which are made in a French atelier but look equally at
home anywhere in the world.
Where his genius shines is in the creation of a look that seems one of kind,
dresses with an intimacy that hearkens to couture. If there is a simple elgance
that permeates the style, it is evidentally just what the doctor ordered
for an ailing fashion industry. Lanvin sales have been climbing at a time
when other labels, notably Givenchy, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent Rive Gauche,
have been having trouble getting traction.
The slope to success is slippery even in good weather, but Alber has reached
the summit full speed ahead.