Alber’s thoughts perhaps reflected his roiling disagreements with Mrs. Wang over the future direction for the brand that he had so powerfully reinvented. In 2015, soon after Alber received his Superstar award, his 14-year association with Lanvin came to a shockingly abrupt end. There was stupefaction in the fashion industry when he wasn’t snapped up by another powerful brand, but perhaps a wounded Alber was biding his time.
He collaborated on a fragrance with Frederic Malle; Alber wanted to replicate “the smell or perfume of a dress.” When I met with him to discuss it Alber had just returned from his legion d’honneur ceremony: his second, in fact he was getting an “upgrade” (he was now an Officier de la Legion D’Honneur).
“I’m taking the time,” Alber explained when I asked him his thoughts about reentering the fashion fray, “I’m really thinking about what it is that I want to