>> We get plenty of insight into the minds of Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld, but as for the whimsical world of Alber Elbaz, there's not such an easy entree.
A couple of weeks ago at the DNR/WWD CEO Summit, the designer delivered the keynote speech, revealing that he rushes home to watch Project Runway and works himself sick — literally — all while carrying on with his trademark wit. Here's more:
He thinks of creating fashion like making French food.
"It’s like wonderful food, but with too much butter. I cut the butter from the recipe, and what I am trying to do with the clothes is taking all the know-how, the tradition, the secret of French couture but trying to update it."
He has a very supportive boyfriend.
"My boyfriend told me [of speaking], ‘Alber, don’t be very nervous, because you are not a CEO, so you don’t have to sound smart.' I thought that this may be the biggest problem of our industry, that we don’t have to sound smart."
Designer Alber was almost Dr. Alber . . . »
After Tom Ford ousted him at Yves Saint Laurent, he thought about leaving fashion.
At the time, [Alber] contemplated . . . becoming a doctor, because, he admitted, he loved hospitals, loved the food there and loved nurses.
When he's starting a new collection, he often sleeps only an hour a night.
"You don’t know what it is that you’re going to do, and you don’t know what it is that you’re going to tell. And it’s very scary, those nights. Then I wake up, it’s three in the morning, I go to my kitchen, I make a triple espresso and I go to my workroom and I start working. There is nothing more scary than just a blank page.”
Ideas in hand, he checks into the Hotel de Crillon and doesn't leave until the collection is done.
“When I do sketch, I try to sketch with music. When I put on classic music, it always goes into pink and flowers, and when I go with metal, it ends up being leather and black. I decided to just shut off the music and I put on CNN or Fox News and I hear all these disasters around the world in 30 minutes, and it feels so wonderful being in Paris, and that’s when everything starts."
"Those nights that I am at the hotel, most of the time I am feeling sick. I am having temperatures, my nose runs and it’s almost like I am fainting.”