Alber Elbaz’s Extraordinary Legacy Comes Home to Holon, Israel

When Alber Elbaz passed away from COVID-19 in April 2021, the world lost a designer whose rare talent was rivaled only by his warm humanity and humble nature. Now, visitors can experience his extraordinary life like never before at the Design Museum Holon, near his childhood home in Israel.

Alber Elbaz in first grade (1967). Photo: Courtesy of Design Museum à Holon

“Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory” (September 15, 2022 – March 2023) takes over the entire museum, its nine gallery spaces filled with more than 100 ensembles, 300 photographs, never-before-seen archives, and personal items. In the opening gallery, acrobatic mannequins in 3D knitwear hover near another posse in little black dresses. Close by, a stage is set for a lively pajama party. These playful installations encompass the first collection of AZ Factory, and the only one to be designed by Elbaz. The revolutionary fashion start-up Elbaz launched in January 2021, just three months before he died at the age of 59, now invites a rotating series of “Amigos”. to design one-off collections; Lutz Huelle will present his collection for the label during Paris Fashion Week.

Photo: Elad Sarig / Courtesy of Design Museum à Holon


Photo: Elad Sarig / Courtesy of Design Museum à Holon


“After carefully examining this collection, I realized it could be a roadmap of Alber’s history,” remarks Ya’ara Keydar, the exhibition’s curator. She, along with his former art director and longtime collaborator Katy Reiss, presented the collection through a framework of geographic locations that shaped Elbaz’s life, from Holon to Tangier, Paris, and New York. “Under Katy’s magic wand, Holon turned into a pajama party and Paris a couture fashion show,” Keydar quipped.

Beyond this gallery, Elbaz’s evolution is collaged along a 180-foot corridor filled with fashion illustrations, illuminating quotes, childhood toys, and keepsakes like his pencil case. Black-and-white images, including one of a six-year-old, twinkly-eyed boy, precede mementos from his prolific career working with Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche, Yves Saint Laurent, and Lanvin. A shadow box even safeguards his trademark bowtie and “Alber” glasses by Maison Bonne, along with a thimble that belonged to Margit Singer, a seamstress at Auschwitz who survived the Holocaust thanks to her sewing skills. After his abrupt exit from Lanvin, Margit’s daughter gifted him the thimble as a reminder that no one could take away his talents in life.

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