“We all need a bit of happiness in our lives… today more than ever, in fact. But can we be happy all the time?” Moroccan-born fashion designer Alber Elbaz asks Grazia Middle East. “I’m afraid happiness doesn’t always come in big packages but sometimes in small drips-and-drops. When happy moments do come, no matter how small they are, we need to embrace them, cherish them and remember them. That’s a happy moment for me.” In a reimagining of the term ‘retail therapy’, Alber has teamed up with heritage Italian accessory house Tod’s to curate a collection of Happy Moments. The designer has picked, prodded and pulled-apart legacy pieces including the driving shoe and the micro bag, and flipped them in to energetic and vivacious versions of themselves.
“My initial intuition was simply to make people happy in different moments of their lives, or just different times of the day. I wanted to capture a few happy moments, like happy to be in love, happy to dance, and happy family, for instance,” Alber recalls. A colour palette of metallic gold, pink, silver and red ignites the collection, while the thick and bouncy shoe soles allude to natural highs and walking on air. “I am a designer, not an Instagram celebrity, or a social influencer, so I approached the project as a designer, reinterpreting the Tod’s DNA in my own way,” he states.
But this isn’t the first time that Alber has brought happiness to the fashion world. In 1988 the designer spent three seasons at Saint Laurent (then Yves Saint Laurent), before a 14-year tenure as head designer at Lanvin, which abruptly ended in 2015. Celebrated for his modern takes on silk cocktail dresses, colourful and feminine designs, and his signature silk bow – which regularly engulfed dresses and two-piece suits (and was often donned by Alber himself) – Alber was credited throughout the industry for his unwavering commitment to fun and laughter. And just last week, the news broke that the designer is back with a joint venture with the Richemont group, named AZ Fashion. “I am very happy to partner with Richemont and establish my ‘dream factory’, which will focus on developing solutions for women of our time. I am extremely excited to collaborate with good people, talented and smart individuals, and look forward to having a lot of fun with this new adventure,” exclaims Alber.
We can’t help but wonder if the signature Alber Elbaz sketches will make their way into AZ Fashion? The humorous drawings of everything from lollipops to his own face became an unmistakable Alber emblem, and are now littered throughout his Tod’s collaboration, (think: jovial visions of dancing in neon-coloured shoes, to running in driving shoes). Add to that a kitten, rabbit (each donning a bow, of course), and an owl for good measure, and Happy Moments arguably becomes the most elated collection of 2019.
So, what makes Alber happy? “When I am free to express myself, when I travel, when I spend time with my beloved ones,” he told us. What makes the Grazia Girl girls happy? Hearing the news that one of our favourite designers is back in more ways than one! We’ll be investing in our Happy Moment accessories now, ready to style with our AZ clothing pieces once they hit the runways.