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Alber Elbaz, Project Runway Fan

>> 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.”
*image: source

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