Alber Elbaz had us from the very first look that came out onto the catwalk: black military trousers, red stripes running down their sides, tucked into block-heeled leather boots, a cropped navy jacket, a white top and tasseled rope belt. So simple, so chic and just the thing to make every editor watching think, 'I’ll have that.'
Every look had that must-own quality. That military theme was woven though the collection along with more than a hint of Morocco, Elbaz's birthplace, in pieces that alternated between the elegantly masculine and the beautifully feminine: wrap-around wool skirts, piped matador jackets, woollen dresses striped with short fringing and tassels, and fluid dresses restrained by leather panels, capes and sleeveless jackets. And there was a bohemian feel to the printed peasant dresses, the gold brocade suits and a/w 2015’s obligatory shearling-collared coats.
Then, a pace change, and the clothes stepped up a gear for evening. Those riding trousers came in rich black satin, worn with tail-coat jackets, the dresses were worked up in velvet and a clutch of simple, black looks came encrusted with brightly coloured beading and sequins, topped with embellished peak caps.
Elbaz’s genius lies in creating not just grown-up clothes that we really want to wear but the women that we really want to be, and in making it look easy. It makes his appeal impressively broad - how many designers could draw both Kim Kardashian and Catherine Deneuve to their front row. It's why he’s so loved and admired by the industry as well as his customers. The proof? As the models streamed off the catwalk, the frenetic drums of the show's soundtrack stopped and Elbaz took his bow to the sound of applause. Not a polite ripple, but joyful, enthusiastic clapping accompanied by whoops and cheers. And deservedly so: the whole experience was truly uplifting.