“If it goes well, we can repeat,” Mr. Elbaz said. “If it doesn’t, we stop.” But, he said, “the idea is, by the end of the year, you have everything you need.”
Kay Barron, the fashion director of Net-a-Porter, called the collection “modular.” And though, as she said, everyone expected Mr. Elbaz to come back making his signature silk dresses under the aegis of another heritage brand, and that would have been the easy answer, this may be better. “I can’t wait to try one on,” she said.
According to Holli Rogers, the chief brand officer of Farfetch, the platform had “zero hesitation” about becoming a partner. First, because, she said, “it’s him.” And second, because, “there couldn’t be a better time to think about a new way of delivering, a new approach to sustainability.”
The pandemic, with its forced closures and supply chain reverberations, has forced a wider reckoning within the fashion system about accepted norms, including the show schedule, the number of collections and the sheer amount of stuff made. Suddenly the questions Mr. Elbaz was asking a few years ago were the questions everyone was asking, and his solutions seemed less like a lone voice shouting into the wind than a central part of the conversation. Even though his own soul-searching began long before it became a wider trend.
“The whole idea was to break the system,” Mr. Elbaz said. “I was never a person who broke the system.” The system, however, may have been broken for him, which puts him in the more natural position of healer. (He says he always wanted to be a doctor.)
“I feel happy that I didn’t give up my dream and say, ‘OK, I’m going back to fashion the way it was,’” he said.