Note to fashion week event planners: Please reconsider venues that are accessible only by iffy elevators, which was the case for a Neiman Marcus awards event Sunday night and the AZ Factory show Monday morning featuring guest designers Molly Molloy and Lucinda Chambers, the duo behind the Colville label.
Despite overcast skies, the view was indeed glorious from the penthouse of the glass and steel Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, where a blue carpet and white benches were laid out for the display.
Like the Lutz Huelle collaboration last season, this AZ Factory effort reflected a fine mind meld. Here, the arty, polished bohemia of Colville collided with the glamorous femininity of the late Alber Elbaz, whose gestures with fabrics and volumes were as unmistakeable as his charming sketches.
In the show notes, Chambers said she “really” felt “Elbaz’s presence” working with the AZ Factory teams, hauling out two members of the design studio for the bow, after which guests sprinted for the elevator banks.
She and Molloy scribbled ruffles down the front of one dress, inset puffy sleeves into another for a slightly hunched look and added scrunchy gloves and flower-festooned baseball caps as soigné flourishes. “Padded waist-warmers” in fake leather added bulk, not pizzazz.
The English design duo showcased more prints than Elbaz ever did, including stripes for clinging sweaters, squiggles for fuzzy woolen coats, and repeating oval shapes for long, slim knit dresses worn over full-legged pants. They also leaned into a stash of deadstock fabric left over from Elbaz’s era, including duchess satin and leather.
Prismic totems made of oriented strand board and mosaic tile stood at the far ends of the room. They were in fact limited-edition stools that will also be sold as part of the one-off collaboration.
A joint venture forged between Compagnie Financière Richemont and Elbaz in 2019, AZ Factory has invited a range of guest creatives, from young up-and-comers to more established talents, in the wake of the founder’s death in April 2021 from COVID-19.