Alber Elbaz has always been a hit with his show audiences, getting roaring and rapturous applause at the end but the S/S 11 show was set up like a play with different acts making their rounds that illicited spontaneous applause throughout the show. This may have been last minute show choreography but it played out like a precise orchestration on Elbaz's part. From the girls that might take flight with their long parachute dresses to a more clean portion of stretch dress and separates to punches of fluoro brights in a light plisse.
Then on it goes, to a curious trio of rain coats (which we could have all done with on a miserably rainy day in Paris) and in a fabric 180 to a sheer chiffon Grecian section and at the end, razzle and dazzle came with spliced grosgrain interwoven with mirror tiles and giant metal flat beading and a punch of a finale bestowed upon five black models in subtle tropical prints worked into glamourous disco-ready outfits. These sections may not have bore any relationship to each other but Elbaz's ever-strong commitment to making women feel good is soundly achieved through so many options. The 'there's something for everyone' approach should not have worked but felt unified by Elbaz's faith and conviction in him knowing what women want.
Dazed Digital: What was the starting point of the collection?
Alber Elbaz: Somehow the inspiration is always the tools of the designer. But what is more important is the result and what is interesting for me is the process. When I started working on this collection, is the body the new fashionable dress. When women buy their own body - their face, their eyes, boobs - do they need fashion? It was not a philosophical question but an interesting one I wanted to answer.
So I started to work with the collection in stretch. You saw all the pleats which for me were like the wrinkles. I had ten different stretch fabrics - like a second skin. Once I found this second skin, I realised that fashion is not about the body, it's about dressing your heart and your head. It's not just about looking good, it's about feeling good. Therefore I start to understand the whole idea of glamour and fantasy that we fashion designers have to supply. I always say fashion is like food, because it has to be fresh. It's not about yesterday or tomorrow, it's about today. I saw the shoes and I couldn't take it - I'm going back to flat shoes - I love the idea of going back to reality. Can comfort also glamorous? What is the definition of glamour. These were the questions I was trying to answer.
DD: How did you work in so many ideas into one collection and still keep it cohesive?
Alber Elbaz: I don't work on one idea in twenty different versions because I don't think women today want to see everyone wearing the same pieces. Our collections are not linear and they are much more well-rounded. I'm trying very hard to be in the middle without being mediocre, to try and understand the needs of women - different women. The question is how do you take all of that andput it together without creating a mish mash and that's a very tough job.