Fashion is renowned as a fickle mistress at the best of times, so it comes as no surprise that a man like Alber Elbaz, who has managed to stay at the top of the industry’s tree for 10 years heading up the house of Lanvin, has great insight on the constant changes faced by the industry – and how to stay ahead of them.
In an interview with WWD, the designer spoke about how he’s become more involved in designing handbags for the label on the grounds that ‘our industry is really moving into a handbag industry, somehow. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but this is the situation’.
Explaining how he came to this conclusion, Elbaz said; ‘It’s one of those things that you just feel. You go to a department store and you see that the size of the handbag department is the size of America. About 10 years ago it was all about the “It” bag, then it went to fashion again, then it went to the importance of shoes, then back to the importance of the bag. Eleven years ago, it was about top models; it wasn’t about the clothes but about who was wearing what. So even fashion has fashions.’
And, in a quote which demonstrates why he’s one of the designers most popular with his female customers, he gives an insight into how he goes about making bags for this increasing demand; ‘It’s always a mix between reality and fantasy. On one hand, we’re always into finding solutions for people’s needs — they really need a big bag because they have to carry their life in it. The next second you say, “Maybe they need just a little clutch because all people have today is an iPhone.” Small and big, it’s all about extremes, contradictions. You have on one hand a backpack and on the other, a clutch.’
That sounds about right to us.