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Alber Elbaz returns to fashion with AZ Factory

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Alber Elbaz marked his return to fashion with his start-up AZ Factory with a personality-filled digital presentation during Paris Haute Couture Week.

Offering what he calls a “digital entertainment take on luxury,” Elbaz used his presentation to share not only his fashion creations but also the ethos of the company, “smart fashion that cares”.

“We are on a journey to design beautiful, purposeful, solutions-driven fashion that works for everyone,” explained Elbaz, head of creation at AZ Factory in a statement. “We are life, not just lifestyle. A place to experiment and try new things, our way.”

AZ Factory is a joint venture with Richemont and is being pitched as a company built around the “core ideas of respect, trust, and love – with a particular focus on creating intimate and special consumer moments”.

With this in mind Elbaz showcased his debut collections with a spin on the traditional fashion show, less catwalk and more an entertainment show, complete with a presenter, a fitness segment and behind-the-scene production shots.

This was a 25-minute look into why it has taken the former Lanvin director so long to get back into fashion, as well as him sharing the origins of the brand, its mission for the future and an educational look inside the factory to offer transparency.

In the video, Elbaz said: “I needed to take time to fall in love with fashion again. I needed to take the time to think, to take the time to dream, and I went back to the past, I questioned the present, and I tried to imagine the future.

“So, I left fashion, but I didn’t leave the industry. I was travelling all over the world, but one visit in silicon valley made me dream again. I asked myself after this trip can tradition and technology co-exist? Is fashion still relevant today? And, you know what the answer is yes, a big, big yes, because when things aren’t great we need fashion.”

AZ Factory unveils debut “stories” during Paris Haute Couture Week

Elbaz goes on to explain the origins of the name, the first and last letters of his name, and adding that “it isn’t my comeback, we are a factory and a laboratory and we are starting small - AZ it is about one story at a time, it is not about collections, it is definitely not about capsules…it’s stories and projects.”

The first product story is the re-imaging of the little black dress that addresses inclusivity. Elbaz adds that it is an “anatomical dress that can shape all natural curves,” using AnatoKnit, a specially engineered knitwear composed of Enka Viscose and Lycra that gently shapes the silhouette while providing support and comfort.

‘MyBody’ dress comes in different silhouettes and aims to “hold you in all the right places” as well as enhance posture using boning at the back. It also addresses how difficult it can be to get into some couture fashions, with Elbaz explaining that the signature AZ Factory zipper takes inspiration from the surf wetsuit to allow easy closure without help.

This is the first collection to drop and will be available in inclusive sizing from XXS to 4XL, with prices starting from 210 euros.

Adding to the dresses will be ‘MyBody 2.0’ offering colourful engineered knitwear and leggings. These will be available to pre-order.

Alber Elbaz reimagines to little black dress for first products for AZ Factory

The inspiration for the second product story, ’Switchwear’ available later this spring, came from the desire to give the gift of time, added the brand, “from leisurewear to fabulous in under one minute”. The modular and playful collection features bodysuits, hoodies, and glam Duchesse add-ons made from recycled yarn.

There are also pyjamas made from high-end silk that have been designed for “both sleeping and dancing the night away”. The first designs have been made in collaboration with several artists and designers, added the brand and feature prints reflect the emotions of our times and our wish to spread messages of hope, love and togetherness.

The third product story, ‘SuperTech-SuperChic’, takes hi-tech activewear to high-fashion transforming eco-dyed nylon microfibre fabrics traditionally used in activewear into seasonless fashion pieces inspired by couture.

AZ Factory has also introduced ‘Pointy Sneaks’, combining the comfort of a sneaker with the elongating visual effect of a pointy-toe pump. The performance-like sneaker has been constructed to offer support and protects the foot by absorbing impact and offering responsive cushioning to deliver better overall mobility. Available to pre-order, the sneakers will be 455 euros.

Describing itself as a digital luxury house, AZ Factory has also launched ‘Alber and Amigos’. The consumer membership programme offers free express shipping to twenty countries worldwide, NFC-enabled product experiences and interaction, as well as access to the brand’s latest news and invitations to special events. With “more surprises and perks” to be added soon.

Laurent Malecaze, chief executive at AZ Factory, added: “We are really excited to create a digital luxury house that is based on design, innovation, and fun storytelling. It is only fitting that we have also chosen to go to market on two leading platforms of the digital luxury world, Farfetch and Net-a-Porter.”

AZ Factory ‘MyBody’ is available on azfactory.com, Farfetch and Net-a-Porter, starting at 210 euros. ‘Switchwear’ and ‘SuperTech-SuperChic’ will be commercially available later this spring.

Images: courtesy of AZ Factory

AZ Factory
Haute Couture Week
Paris Haute Couture Week