Vogue Festival 2013

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Last Sunday we were very kindly offered tickets by the lovely Fleur at Voucher Codes to go & cover Alber Elbaz’s ‘The Dream & Reality of Fashion’ talk as part of the 2013 Vogue Festival. I am a huge, huge fan of his work at Lanvin & so of course I jumped at the chance to go along.

I had no idea what to expect of the festival as I had never been before, but I must admit that having been going to music festivals since I was a teen, the word ‘festival’ conjured up in my mind something a little bigger.

There was a cafe, shop, mini studio (for Vogue cover portraits), 3 beauty stands (including Dior eyes, YSL lips & a braid bar), plus mentoring panels that took place twice each day with Vogue staff, which we sadly missed. The beauty stands seemed to be a real hit & they had constantly large queues, but this is something you can get done in any department store & not something I really wanted to wait in a huge line for. The ‘Vogue cover portrait’ section also proved very popular. Getting to dress up in Chanel clothing & accessories to pose for photos, then have your face printed out in the style of a Vogue cover was a really fun idea & made for a great souvenir to take home from the day.

We thoroughly enjoyed Elbaz’s talk, he was funny, down to earth & full of inspirational words. The whole talk was peppered with his brilliant one liners, leaving the audience furiously tapping away on their phones, to which he responded “I can see you tapping away, I hate Twitter!” and was met with roars of laughter.

Born in Casablanca & having grown up in Israel, he shared that women were what what first inspired him to design, “It was not the story of design or clothes, it was the fantasy of women that made me want to work in fashion.” He recalled that as a school boy he “sketched all of my teachers outfits everyday in my notebook, then gave it to her at the end of the year.” He also felt that coming from nowhere & nothing was a huge advantage to him as it allowed him to fantasize about fashion, instead of it being something that he took for granted.

After being fired from YSL he took a break & briefly considered becoming a doctor but it was “too many years work.” He wanted to miss fashion, to have the courage to do it his own way, only with people he liked & to stop worrying about what the editors thought. After all he said, “What is more important, to be worn on a magazine cover, or to be worn in real life?” He likes his clothes to make women feel beautiful but it’s equally as important to him that they’re practical too – “I like a women to be able to sit, to have a pudding, to get out of a car & to be comfortable.”

He is also full of contradictions, but this just adds to his quirky charm & is something that really comes through in his designs, making them both extremely covetable & so wearable – “I like first class, but I don’t like first class people, I prefer the people in the normal coach.” “I like fine restaurants, but I don’t like the portion sizes or the taste. I prefer McDonald’s!” and “I like to be perfect, but I don’t like perfection – I think it’s dangerous. There is nothing after perfection.”

I left feeling incredibly inspired & absolutely charmed by Alber. However, I must be honest & say I do feel that the ticket prices are a little steep, especially considering that it’s around £40 for one, roughly one hour long talk. To make a full day of it & do the other talks also, to get the full ‘festival’ feel, would be quite expensive. The place was packed though, with barely an empty seat, so I guess this isn’t such a problem for everyone.

“Don’t be scared. Be good, talented, try hard & you will make it. It’s not about who you know, who you know can only get you to the door not to the ceiling…”

Filed under: Events


  1. Jenny
    Posted 08.05.2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    This was a fantastic read and very inspirational too! I loved his motives for designing and the speech was incredible the way you have described it and his personality. I would love to attend one of these events so your very lucky and its always good to hear other peoples stories to success :)


    • Posted 08.05.2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Thankyou Jenny, I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it! :) I agree, it always inspires me hearing how others have succeeded.

  2. Posted 08.05.2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    i’m glad you enjoyed it – i always wonder if i’d enjoy the festival! i’m such a fidgeter, i’d be rubbish in any kind of lecture environment…xx

  3. Posted 08.05.2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Great post Steph <3 The pics are beautiful!!!

    Latest look:

  4. Posted 08.05.2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m so jealous it sounds amazing, did you get a vogue cover? I agree £40 for one talk
    is a bit steep, it vogue though wouldn’t expect anything less!

    • Posted 08.05.2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t! The queue was soo long & barely seemed to move, we were starving after the talk so decided to leave it. I would have liked one though!

      • Posted 08.05.2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        I can imagine what the queue was like, I think if have paid the £40 just for one of those though! Lol

  5. Posted 08.05.2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    yaa the ticket price does sound kind of steep! but looks like a fun experience overall and a great girls night out!! :)

  6. Posted 09.05.2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I love conferences! lol The festival sounds great but the price per talk not so much, still is pretty vauable to hear designers opinions about the industry and personal journey that is probably priceless :) Thank for sharing! xx

  7. Posted 09.05.2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Heeey thank you for sharing Alber Elbaz talk. It was really interesting and inspiring. I watched an interview with C.Louboutin few weeks ago. All talented people have amazing stories…XOXO


  8. Posted 10.05.2013 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    Wow, I heard of that festival but I didn’t really know what to think about it. I’m really glad you got the opportunity to get there and listen to a talk. I can imagine how inspired you were after listening to him – and he’s so right, it’s much better if the clothes were worn on real people!

  9. Posted 10.05.2013 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    How fantastic! I’ve been itching to read this post after seeing your tweets yesterday, so worth the wait. I love Mr Elbez, what an inspiration especially the ‘growing up from nothing and being able to fantasize more’ gahhh love this. Wish I could attend, though not only would the sea pose a problem but so would the price! Ouch!


    • Posted 13.05.2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Aw, thankyou Sonia! :) I agree, so many of the things he said really hit home for me too, it’s amazing to hear him talk, because you can really see & hear just how passionate he is about it all.

  10. sophie
    Posted 11.05.2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I would have loved to have listened to Alber Elbaz as he looks like such an interesting person! xxx

    I left my heart in Miami

  11. Posted 12.05.2013 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    I agree, the prices are definitely very steep and it makes me wonder why the tickets need to be that expensive. However, it’s great to see everyone’s coverage on blogs – glad to read that it was a wonderful, inspiring talk. That man is a legend!

    • Posted 13.05.2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, my guess was that it’s purely because it’s Vogue & there are lots of people who would pay that much (like I said, the place was almost full) & so they can get away with charging those prices.
      There seemed to be a lot of students there too though, so I’m hoping that maybe they got a discounted price? As I can see it would be a very beneficial event for them & I know that when I was a student I could never have afforded £40 per talk!

  12. Posted 19.05.2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Steph, I love the quote you included to conclude the post! Alber Elbaz is one of my favourite designers and it is great to hear that he is so down-to-earth. Thanks (once again) for your honest review! Caterina

  13. Posted 21.05.2013 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    ooh lucky girl :) looks like another fun event, really enjoyed the pics especially the old mag covers, taking some inspiration from that for my workspace at home for sure!

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