Alber Elbaz is making his long-awaited return to fashion as an invited guest member of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode with his joint venture with Richemont, AZ Factory.
In a statement, AZ Factory said it will present its first product stories as part of Paris Haute Couture Week on January 26 at 8pm CET, which will then go to market exclusively on Farfetch and Net-a-Porter, in addition to its own direct-to-consumer website.
AZ Factory said it was pioneering a first in luxury fashion with its global launch and that Elbaz’s return to the industry would be with an exclusively digital and entertainment-first approach, with an “innovative format that promises to be educational, emotional, and of course, beautiful”.
Commenting on the launch, Elbaz, said: “I’ve dreamt for years about a fashion reset to care, and that dream is even more relevant today at a time when people cannot be together. The world is changing fast, and we are all adapting to new behaviours and emotions. This dreams factory is focused on developing real solutions for today’s women.
“It is a product-focused and a communications-focused project, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring it to the world in a fabulous, entertainment-driven way with two of the leaders of the digital luxury world, Farfetch and Net-a-Porter.”
While a film will launch the new luxury fashion brand during couture week, AZ Factory has also created two special experiences with its commercial partners, Farfetch and Net-a-Porter, to bring the brand story to life “via interactive, content-led concepts that are unique to each online player’s own DNA and audience”.
Alber Elbaz to host a talk show to launch new luxury fashion brand AZ Factory
The first will be the AZ Factory World Tour, an immersive, virtual experience, that will go live on Farfetch.com immediately after the AZ Factory launch on January 26. This was developed as an alternative for Elbaz’s proposed launch event that would have included a pop-up truck on Avenue Montaigne.
Holli Rogers, chief brand officer, Farfetch, said: “In a world where we can’t physically be together right now, the next best thing was to use our creativity and technology to bring our customers on tour and let them jump on board, take a tour of the incredible collection, and help spread a feeling of joy and togetherness.”
Instead, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the world tour will allow fashion fans to “‘hop on the truck in cities online,” and virtually tour the AZ Factory, and explore the products in 3D for themselves. Farfetch will allow customers to virtually try on AZ products using Augmented Retail (AR) technology, powered by the company’s startup partner, Zeekit.
This will be followed up on January 27 with a live Talk Show with Alber Elbaz and Friends on Net-a-Porter. The digital special will feature a “very special co-anchor” explained the brand alongside VIP guests, which will be live-streamed from Paris on the online retailer’s Instagram and YouTube channels.
‘The Talk Show’ will celebrate the launch of AZ Factory, and its plans on creating “fun, innovative solutions for womenswear,” as well as looking at “why chasing society’s beauty standards doesn’t work, and how the simple act of dressing up makes us feel our best,” added AZ Factory.
Sheena Sauvaire, chief marketing officer, Net-a-Porter, said: “Alber’s vision for AZ Factory is truly original. He has created a wholly new approach to launching a brand at a time when our industry is evolving and consumers are looking for escapism.
“With a shared belief that fashion should be joyous and uplifting, he captured our imagination to create ‘The Talk Show with Alber & Friends’; an irreverent spin on an analogue TV format inviting VIP guests to discuss what makes us happy through the themes of fashion, science and body positivity. Perfect for our times, and the Net-a-Porter community alike.”
AZ Factory marks Elbaz’s full return to fashion since exiting Lanvin more than five years ago and is one of the most anticipated ready-to-wear debuts in 2021. The French designer has kept details of his new venture under wraps, sharing only snippets of what to expect from his brand on social media.
He posted a business plan, drawn as a tree, on Instagram earlier this month sharing that AZ Factory had plans to showcase tailored jackets, jeans, raincoats, sunglasses, sneakers, jewellery, 3D bags, cosmetics, swimwear and black dresses.
In the brand’s official press statement, AZ Factory said that it will offer “design beautiful, solutions-driven fashion that works for everyone”.
“It is a reset, it is the birth of a Factory. A digital luxury brand based on innovation, technology, and, above all, a place to experiment and try new ideas. We are built around the core ideas of love, trust, and respect. We speak to our clients as we do with friends. Because we care,” AZ Factory added.
Elbaz’s new luxury brand AZ Factory will debut on January 26.
Image: Christophe Archambault / AFP