Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory
The Mediatheque and Design Museum Holon, Israel
September 15, 2022 – February 25, 2023
Design Museum Holon presents the largest fashion exhibition ever dedicated to the life and work of fashion designer Alber Elbaz, one of the greatest world-renowned fashion designers, and the most successful Israeli designer in the world. Spanning the entire museum, “Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory,” is the most extensive fashion exhibition ever dedicated to the life and work of the iconic fashion designer, with never-before-seen objects and visuals. It is a moving and touching tribute celebrating his life and work. “The only thing I do not do is summarize. I do not do retrospectives.” – Alber Elbaz
Danny Weiss, CEO of Mediatheque and the Design Museum Holon: “Design Museum Holon is proud to present the exciting, spectacular, and fascinating exhibition dedicated to the greatest Israeli designer in the world, Alber Elbaz, who sadly passed away last year. Unprecedented efforts and measures were invested in this exhibition, which is one of the most complex and expensive in the museum’s history. The museum team headed by Maya Dvash, the museum’s chief curator, and Ya’ara Keydar, the exhibition curator, succeeded in creating a spectacular mosaic of Alber Elbaz’s life and work while meeting uncompromising standards. The exhibition unfolds and re-embroiders the world of Alber Elbaz, from the beginning of his journey in the city of Holon, where he grew up and was raised, to the heights he reached in the world. This exhibition invites its visitors, local and international, to a personal experience as exciting, but also universal and inspiring, as the man himself”.
Maya Dvash, the chief curator of the Design Museum Holon, says: “We are excited to open an exhibition about Alber Elbaz, who grew up in Holon and broke out into the world from here. Alber Elbaz had a rare ability to look at the world and people at eye level and, simultaneously, with a universal perspective. We aim to represent this rare feature in the exhibition – a focused and intimate look at the stations of Alber’s life and a broad look at the worldwide work of a creator who had an extraordinary talent and, at the same time, was very humane. This exhibition is also a special opportunity to present the design world’s grappling with a person’s work soon after his death with the appropriate professionalism and sensitivity.”
Ya’ara Keydar, curator of the exhibition: “Alber was a superstar in the global fashion world, but he remained a lovely, generous, and humble person. He used to say that he did not like summaries and did not do retrospectives. The exhibition ‘Alber Elbaz – The Dream Factory‘ draws inspiration from his spirit and captivating personality – it does not try to summarize but to share with visitors a new story of fashion and emotion, and to inspire his many fans and new dreamers. Through more than 100 outfits that are the pinnacle of fashion, hundreds of photographs, video clips, objects, and personal items, the exhibition presents, for the first time to the public, the materials of which Alber’s dreams were made. ‘Dream‘ was a word often used by Alber to describe his creative process. ‘Love‘ was another guiding concept in his life, and the exhibition is, more than anything else, a love story to Alber. This exhibition is an invitation to get to know the revolutionary, legendary designer, his exciting life story, his captivating personality, and to fall in love.”
The entire Design Museum Holon is dedicated to the inspirational and creative life of the acclaimed fashion designer Alber Elbaz, who passed away last year due to COVID-19. The exhibition, “Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory,” includes over 100 couture pieces, together with rare archival material, personal objects, and photos presented to the public for the first time. Included is the debut collection Elbaz designed for his brand AZ Factory, which will be displayed in a museum for the first time. As part of the exhibition, ensembles from the Love Brings Love tribute fashion show are displayed in a new multimedia format specially designed for this exhibition. Love Brings Love was an unprecedented event in the history of international fashion, initiated by Alber’s partner Alex Koo and AZ Factory. 46 of the leading fashion houses in the world (Dior, Gucci, Balenciaga, McQueen, and more) came together for this show and created tributes in honor of Elbaz’s memory. These couture creations are shown in Israel for the first time and exclusively in Design Museum Holon.
Alber Elbaz was an international fashion legend. He was born in Casablanca, grew up in Holon, moved to New York, conquered Paris, and left behind an extraordinary legacy that changed fashion forever. Elbaz (1961-2021) dreamed and breathed fashion from early childhood and was considered a prodigy among fashion designers. This exhibition is an opportunity to tell, and experience, his extraordinary story. Alber was known not only for his unique talent for fashion and visionary approach but also for his rare ability to tell a story, and to move and touch people’s hearts. Alber’s kind personality made him deeply beloved and appreciated by many around the world. Dreams, as the driving force in Alber’s life, take center stage in the exhibition, alongside striking couture pieces. As he used to say, Alber Elbaz did not like to summarize and did not like retrospectives. The exhibition is true to his vision: it does not aim to summarize but to open a new story and inspire his many fans and new dreamers alike, allowing visitors to get to know him and fall in love. The exhibition spans the entire Design Museum of Holon and is the most extensive exhibition about Alber Elbaz to date. It is a moving and exciting tribute that celebrates his life and work. It invites visitors to a personal and exciting but also universal experience, which is full of inspiration.
The lower gallery begins with the most recent milestone in Alber’s life – the launch of his brand – AZ Factory. The brand, a revolutionary fashion start-up, was born in 2021 after a four-year hiatus that Alber took from the fashion world to answer the question – what is the future of fashion? Through the brand, Elbaz, who has always focused on what women want, offered new solutions: designs that fit many different body types, adapted to an active lifestyle, sustainable and eco-friendly manufacturing, and combining couture and traditional practices with technology. The collection was first unveiled in January 2021, and this is the first time it is shown as a museum exhibition. The gallery design was inspired by Elbaz’s famous display windows, divided into the various places that shaped his life’s trajectory: Tangier, Holon, Paris, and New York. Each group demonstrates how in his latest creation, Elbaz gathered the very best from every station in his life to create a new fashion language that invites us to think about the future. The peripheral corridor creates a 54-meter (180 ft) long journey that celebrates Elbaz’s life story and includes all the main milestones and key people in his life. The corridor features quotes, stories, anecdotes, more than 300 photographs and fashion illustrations, personal objects, and never before seen archival material.
The upper gallery reimagines the tribute fashion show “Love Brings Love,” in which 46 elite designers celebrated Elbaz’s memory in Paris, in October 2021. The show was an unprecedented event in fashion history initiated by Elbaz’s partner, Alex Koo, and the AZ Factory team. These couture creations are shown in Israel for the first time, exclusively in Design Museum Holon and displayed in a new and unique multimedia experience specially designed for the exhibition. “Love Brings Love,” fulfilled Elbaz’s dream to create a fashion show that would unite designers worldwide to express a message of peace in times of war. Elbaz drew inspiration from a traveling fashion show of dolls, which took place in Paris in 1945, with the participation of the best couture designers of Paris. In the pavilion gallery, another tribute to Alber: a mini exhibition of high fashion with more than 30 porcelain dolls from Alber’s private collection, presented to the public for the first time. Each doll is a miniature model of an iconic design for Lanvin. Additional galleries in the exhibition present the “Peace Dress,” designed by Elbaz featuring white wings; Meryl Streep‘s iconic golden dress that Elbaz had designed for Streep for the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony. Ms. Streep won an Oscar for Best Actress wearing the dress and personally sent the dress to the exhibition; As a tribute to the conversations over dinner that Elbaz loved, the Margalit Gallery morphs into a unique video projection experience in the form of a dinner table, inviting visitors to sit, watch and enjoy highlights and life lessons from the famous and humorous lectures that Alber Elbaz gave during his travels around the world; The Lab Gallery is transformed into an immersive, synchronized 8-minute video triptych with surround sound, allowing visitors to experience Elbaz’s creative and hectic world of fashion at Lanvin – in the atelier, behind the scenes, and on the runway.
Curator of the exhibition: Ya’ara Keydar (“The Ball”, “Je taime, Ronit Elkabetz”). Creative director: Katy Reiss, who worked with Alber Elbaz for 15 years and collaborated with Alber for Lanvin and beyond, from the catwalk shows, books, and exhibitions to projects and collaborations. Reiss directed the “Love Brings Love” fashion show in Paris and subsequent exhibition. Consultant: Shelly Verthime, teacher of Alber Elbaz at Shenkar college. Worked with Alber for over 20 years in Paris. International Communications Director: Hania Destelle. Graphic design: Stinsensqueeze design studio, who worked with Elbaz on special projects such as exhibitions and books. The creation of the exhibition was accompanied by the AZ Factory team, photographers, artists, video editors and more. The creation of the exhibition was accompanied lovingly by Elbaz’s partner, Alex Koo, and his family in Israel.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM: Design Museum Holon is the only design museum in Israel and is ranked among the world’s 15 most important design museums. Housed in an iconic building by the internationally acclaimed architect Ron Arad, Design Museum Holon is a vital and dynamic resource for designers, students, creative industries, and the general public. Since it opened in 2010, the museum has hosted more than 50 international exhibitions, drawing more than two million visitors. The museum is one of The Mediatheque Holon institutions and is supported by the Municipality of Holon and the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The building and its architects won the annual Innovation and Design Award of the international magazine Condé Nast Traveler, which also included the museum on the list of “Wonders of the World,” the newcomers in the field of architecture, and it continues to receive favorable reactions and reviews in the field of culture. The museum is a leading international center for innovation in the field of design and part of an ongoing commitment of Holon Municipality to promote culture and education in the city. In the past year, Design Museum Holon presented the largest fashion exhibition in Israel so far – “The Ball,” curated by Ya’ara Keydar, visited by over 150,000 visitors, and was the most successful exhibition of the Holon Design Museum. In 2022, the design art exhibition “Overdose” was presented from the collection of Galila Barzilaï-Hollander.