Azzedine Alaia Classico
today Jul 6, 2017
Nobody was terribly sure quite why Azzedine Alaia staged a runway show, though no one really cared, as the chance to actually witness a rare show by the legendary master brought forth a novel array of notables.
Art bosses crowded the front row from Fabrice Hergott, head of Museum of Modern Art of Paris; gallery owner Kamel Mennour; Sydney Picasso, daughter-in-law Pablo; Jack Lang and even fellow designer Nicolas Ghesqeière all took their seats on metal school chairs. And every editor of note in Paris.
Alaia is notorious for presenting collection intermittently – and often a week or two after the official season - when all the buyers and editors have left town. This time, he staged, off calendar, on the key day of Wednesday when the likes of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Valentino and Fendi were scheduled.
The first look had the audience of 400 cheering; as Naomi Campbell marched out a white plucked wool. When she appeared in the final passage, the crowd leapt to its feet. Alaia was never one for wasting his money. So the hair department consisted of a series of black and white plastic wraparounds in the shape of a wily Doge’s hat. He did not break that much new ground, but what he showed was largely superb.
Few people sculpt clothes like Alaia, whose combinations of supple metal tracks, leather strips and taught knits were combined into clothes of great power. A series of snakeskin coats and coatdresses held together with micro grommets caused an audible ripple of passion in the show-space, Azzedine’s late 19th century headquarters in the Marais. Alaia’s women manage to look like they could conquer the world at the same time as they seduce it. That’s why he is a great designer; a tribute to France and a jewel in Paris.
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