Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz on Fashion, Technology & Selfie Culture

In a recent interview with Another magazine, Alber Elbaz, former creative director of Lanvin, and one of the most influential designers of our time spoke up against the impact of technology, Internet and instagram are having on the idea of creation, creativity and fashion. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, there are elements of truth in his comments. Here are some of the relevant and notable comments from the interview,  but the whole piece in itself is worth a read.

“In this digital age, we live through our screens, documenting the moment. We no longer look; we film. We no longer listen; we tape. And we no longer talk; we post.  There is an interesting relationship between fashion and photography – today, the camera is not just documenting the dress but is actually influencing its design. I mean, we used to be called couturiers, then we ended being designers and then creative directors – and today, the whole idea of image making has become the name of the game. The buzz is sometimes more important than the product, the packaging is almost stronger than the inside.”

Today when I see women trying a dress on, the first thing they do is take a picture: they want to see how they look in a photo. This is a phenomenon; I keep asking myself, ‘did the photo replace the mirror? Do women today dress for their body or for the photograph – what is more important to them?’ Then I start to question the whole world of technology and its rapidity: the fact that you can click and delete, that you can click and appear. There is something about the process, about the workmanship versus technology and the speed of the photo. Is the only way to be heard today to scream on the screen? Is there a place for whispering?

Technology brings the dream to everyone: you can be deep inside middle America, but you can see what is happening in Paris. But there’s nothing wrong with not knowing everything when you’re 16; you don’t need to be all over the world, you need to keep some dreams for yourself because that’s what keeps you moving. When I interview people who have graduated from the best schools in the world, and who live in the most urban cities… they’ve seen it all, they know it all.