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Fashion designer Alber Elbaz buried in Israel
Alex Koo (R) mourns during the funeral of his partner Israeli-French designer Alber Elbaz in the Israeli city of Holon near Tel Aviv, on April 28, 2021. Alber Elbaz, the fashion designer whose playful designs transformed the storied French house Lanvin into an industry darling before his shock ouster in 2015, has died aged 59 after a battle with Covid-19, the Richemont luxury group said. JACK GUEZ / AFP.

HOLON (AFP).- Alber Elbaz, the renowned fashion designer credited with giving classic tailoring a more playful edge, was buried in Israel on Wednesday following his weekend death in Paris aged 59 after a battle with Covid-19.

Hundreds of family members, friends and Israeli fashion industry leaders attended the traditional Jewish funeral in Holon, the city south of Tel Aviv where Elbaz was raised after immigrating as a child from Morocco.

In his eulogy, Elbaz's partner Alex Koo referenced the designer's departure from Israel with little money to pursue his career in fashion.

Koo, a musician, said Elbaz left Israel "just with a suitcase and full of dreams, hopes, and your raw and intuitive talent."

Elbaz, born in Morocco as Albert, had restored the lustre to storied French house Lanvin during his 14 years at the helm of France's oldest couture brand, before his shock ouster in 2015.

Hollywood stars including Cate Blanchett and Sienna Miller were devotees, in particular of his svelte black cocktail dresses, and the house flourished financially during his tenure.

"More than any other contemporary designer, Alber listened and didn't dictate to women how to dress," Lea Peretz, a senior lecturer of fashion design at Israel's Shenkar College and a long-time Elbaz friend, said in her eulogy.

"He didn't try to design us, he didn't try to change us, not to turn us into fantasies, but to the contrary -- to see the complexity and the needs that modernity dictate to a contemporary woman's life," Peretz said.

Instantly recognisable with his oversize round glasses and his penchant for bow ties, Elbaz also earned fans with an affable and ebullient demeanour that set him apart in an industry known for prickly personalities.

Gal Uchovsky, a film producer and friend, described Elbaz as "an amazing person".

"He would always give you this feeling that he's there with you, for you, and it was genuine, it wasn't a show," he said ahead of the ceremony.

"(Holon) was where he'd come, fly away from Paris and New York and everywhere to rest," Uchovsky said.

After beginning his career with the American designer Geoffrey Beene in New York, Elbaz took over at Guy Laroche in 1996 before joining Yves Saint Laurent in 1998 to design a ready-to-wear collections for the French master.

In 2001 he was hired by Lanvin.

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed Elbaz as the designer had "made French elegance shine around the world".

© Agence France-Presse

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