Molly Molloy and Lucinda Chambers present the AZ Factory fall winter 2023 collection in Paris.
Unveiled exclusively at Paris Fashion Week at the Foundation Cartier: a new AZ Factory collection, created in partnership with the long-term collaborators, Molly Molloy and Lucinda Chambers. Comparable to an art gallery, AZ Factory selects independent designers and creatives who resonate with Alber Elbaz’s foundational concept of ‘smart fashion that cares.’ These designers are given a visiting role based on shared values – in this case, quality, circularity, handcraftsmanship, upcycling, and empowerment of women – and, together with the AZ atelier team, craft a new collection and stage a
This project, and the expertise provided by AZ Factory, offered Molloy and Chambers the chance further to explore their deep interest in material and design innovation. “You feel Alber’s presence.”
Chambers says of her experience working with AZ Factory, “And this felt like such a meeting of the minds.” The pair were motivated by the synergies between their work and that of the late Elbaz; the twists on archetypal femininity, the fluidity, the lush fabrications, the interest in draping and architectural forms, sculptural details, and offbeat volumes. The collection, which they present as “Paris, seen through the eyes of their sensibility,” became about paying respectful homage to Elbaz’s legacy, and the values of AZ Factory while looking resolutely to the future.
Layering is a key part of the collection, and many silhouettes feature a range of items created using distinct deadstock fabrications left over from Elbaz’s era. A compact jersey dress with a ruffle detail down the front is paired with striking winged gloves in rich deadstock duchess satin.
A padded gilet, constructed to look like it has been effortlessly tied around the body, comes in faux leather and playfully offsets the classicism of a white poplin shirt and navy draped jersey skirt. Silhouettes are never predictable – shirts have extra movement at the back, skirts flare beautifully, trousers come with exaggerated turn-ups or dropped crotches, and padded waist-warmers dissect roomy kaftans and tailored coats in boucle, giving shape and line. Throughout the collection, some drapes and details nod to couture – ruffles that turn into sleeves, bows that twist into stoles. Upcycled shell-suits are cut to cascade into ruffles on tops.
Thanks to the AZ Factory studio’s expertise with eveningwear and dresses, Molloy and Chambers saw the opportunity to explore new territory. A billowing, architectural skirt in wool gabardine looks elegant and surprising when paired with a cropped, form-fitting, faux leather parka with detachable sleeves. A long black dress with lace details nods to the classic negligee. A jersey bottle green draped dress hugs the body. A red velvet dress is slashed away at the back, revealing skin. Finally, a timeless red sleeve dress with intricate gathers flows around the hips, wrists, and ankles.
Recycling and reusing – a common value shared by AZ Factory and Molloy and Chambers – is central to the collection. Accessories make use of deadstock leather. Bags include a bucket style in sumptuous leather featuring the pill print, and new versions of Molloy and Chamber’s now iconic woven bags, created in collaboration with a tribe of Columbia weavers that the duo has worked with for years, giving the women consistent income and creative commissions.
Finally, AZ Factory is proud to unveil a limited edition run of 35 one-of-a-kind stools crafted in wood with panels of deadstock leather and intricate mosaic tiling. They were created in a multi-faceted creative collaboration between Molloy, Chambers, the Milan-based architecture and design studio FERRILLOBELLI, and the historical expert mosaic company Friul Mosaic, who used hand-cut natural colored enamels from recycled glass powder to decorate each stool with patterns from the collection. They stand like totems amongst the clothing – paying homage to color, form, and the ethos of collaboration and artistic exchange that underpins this project.
Believing in a smart fashion that cares, AZ Factory was founded by the late Alber Elbaz with Richemont in 2020 to ‘create beautiful, practical, and solutions-driven fashion that works for everyone’.
Anchored in the highest disciplines of style and savoir-faire, AZ Factory’s universe seamlessly blends traditional craftsmanship with forward-looking applications and technology in quest of true innovation. Since 2022, AZ Factory has evolved into a multi-disciplinary platform beyond the conventional fashion blueprint, daringly supporting the creation and young talent as a creative collective with a curatorial approach.
Recent collaborations include Thebe Magugu, Ester Manas, Club Domani, Cyril Bourez, Lutz Huelle, and Tennessy Thoreson.
Molly Molloy worked as design director at Marni, joining the company in 2006 as head of womenswear, and became design director of womenswear. While at Marni, Molly was also co-editor of the bi-annual publication Parterre De Rois.
Lucinda Chambers is a London-based creative consultant and stylist. She worked at British Vogue as a fashion director for 25 years. Lucinda has been key in establishing many luxury fashion brands, including Prada and Marni, from inception.