Tributes pour in for visionary fashion designer Alber Elbaz, who passed away with COVID-19

Alber Elbaz

Fashion designer Alber Elbaz, who dressed everyone from Michelle Obama to Kim Kardashian, has died from COVID-19 at 59-years old.

Elbaz died in Paris on Saturday (24 April) after having COVID-19 for three weeks. His business partner Johann Rupert confirmed the news, praising Elbaz’s “inclusive vision of fashion [which] made women feel beautiful and comfortable”.

Elbaz was most famous for serving at the helm of Parisian luxury brand Lanvin since 2001, and is widely credited with reviving its fortunes. He took a break from the industry after an acrimonious split with Lanvin in 2015, returning to launch his own label AZ Factory in January 2021.

Among his devotees was Meryl Streep, who wore one of his gowns to accept her Oscar for The Iron Lady in 2012.

She told Vogue in 2015: “Alber’s dresses for Lanvin are the only ones that when I wear them, I feel like myself, or even a better version of her.”

Elbaz leaves behind his long-term partner Alex Koo. They had been together since 1993 and worked at Lanvin together.

Tributes have poured in for the designer on social media.

Julianne Moore wrote on Instagram: “So shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Alber Elbaz, a man who’s immense talent was only surpassed by his exceptional kindness.

“I am only one of the thousands who will miss him and were so profoundly touched by his work but more importantly his very being.”

Kim Kardashian wrote: “When I heard the news of his passing today my heart broke.

“Alber dressed me for my first Vogue cover and gifted me with the cover dress to hold onto that memory forever. Then Alber and Lanvin dressed me to the first Met Ball I was invited to on my own.

“Our fittings were filled with laughs and hugs! What a sweet soul.”

Bette Midler called the news “one more death to add to the continuing heartbreak”.

As well as his many celebrtiy clients, various fashion brands and fellow designers also paid their respects to Elbaz online.

Vera Wang called him “one of fashion’s originals”.

Jean Paul Gaultier also paid tribute to Elbaz, calling his new label AZ Factory “made for the new world”.