Alber Elbaz is a modern romantic who found his perfect match in Lanvin, the Parisian house where he has been artistic director since 2001. His signature designs for the label – pleated silk dresses, satin ribbon details and costume jewellery – are now among the most sought-after in fashion, making his switch-back route to success all the more surprising. Alber was born in Casablanca, Morocco and raised in the suburbs of Tel Aviv by his mother, a Spanish artist. He studied at the Shenkar College of Textile Technology and Fashion, Tel Aviv, but received some of his most valuable training in New York, where for seven years he was right-hand man to the late Geoffrey Beene, couturier to East Coast high society. In 1996, Alber was appointed head of ready-to-wear for Guy Laroche in Paris, where he remained for almost three years. During November 1998, he was appointed artistic director for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, effectively taking over design duties from Saint Laurent himself. During his tenure at YSL, Alber attracted a younger clientele – Chloë Sevigny wore one of his dresses to the Oscars. However, at the start of 2000, the Gucci Group took control of YSL Rive Gauche and Tom Ford stepped into Alber’s position. Following a short but successful spell at Milanese brand Krizia and time out travelling the world, in October 2001, Alber returned to French fashion via Lanvin, the couture house founded by Jeanne Lanvin in the 1880s. Under his creative direction, Lanvin has reestablished itself, and now includes a jewellery, shoe and handbag collection. Alber’s own accolades reflect the brand’s success and include an array of internationally recognised awards, including the CFDA International Fashion Award (2005 and 2006), the prestigious Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion (2007) and an award at The Fashion Group International’s 24th Annual. For Lanvin, he continues to recommend an urban elegance of emotion and optimism.