This past Saturday I read a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal about a designer whose work I knew, but whom I knew very little about – Azzedine Alaïa. His designs are coveted by celebrities and models the world over so it is no surprise that he once once studied sculpture. His career is still about playing with curves of the female form. The Tunisian-born designer has spent the more than 30 years honing his craft of fusing lush materials and specially developed micro-knits with curving seams, spiraling zippers and corset lacing, all in the name of creating an ideal female form. Fans include Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Nicole Kidman, Sofia Coppola and Rihanna.
I remember first hearing the name Azzedine Alaïa (which it seemed nobody ever pronounced correctly) in the 80’s. Remember Tina Turner’s little black number on the cover of “Private Dancer”? It was Azzedine Alaïa. Fast forward to 2013 and the still relevant designer just opened a three-story boutique in Paris right off Avenue Montaigne this past weekend. A mere block away the Musée Galliera has opened a retrospective of his work—simply called “Alaïa”. The exhibition features 67 dresses from previous collections.
Alaïa eschews the limelight and prefers to keep a low profile. He shows in Paris and if he decides to show it to the press at all it’s the day after most fashion editors have left the city. He has never bought a single page of advertising. “All the recognition I need is these women following me for years and who still trust me,” Mr. Alaïa said. He also answered 20 questions for the WSJ. I will share a few of my favorites here;
The most stylish woman is: one who knows her body, what suits her, what parts of her body she should show or not. Women must know themselves better than anyone. If you have ugly legs, wear long dresses. If you have long, great legs, show them.
The best compliment I ever received was: when models asked to keep my dresses instead of getting paid. These girls were giving me the most important years of their lives, so I accepted with joy.
The best part of the fashion industry is: the fact that one lives in a constant feast, surrounded by beautiful women all year round.
The worst part of the fashion industry is: how unbearably fast it has become. It is in the hands of manufacturers, and what seems to matter most today is the turnover of new merchandise.
To read the rest of the 20 Questions visit: online.wsj.com
– Lauren Dimet Waters
Source & photos: WSJ
See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40