ALAÏA: THE ELUSIVE COUTURIER
Updated: May 6, 2020
Hold on to your seat, because a documentary featuring AZZEDINE ALAÏA is here! YES!
The documentary is around 20 minutes and can be streamed online on joesfilm.com . It is made by stylist Joe McKenna, who has been the man behind various campaigns like Balmain and Miu Miu among a few.
The reason why this documentary is so special is because Monsieur Alaïa, as many would respectfully call him, is a living legend who has created remarkable, impeccably constructed, timeless, and often copied (ehm..Herve Leger) pieces many women desire. But also, he is not a show pony. He rarely gives interviews or public appearances, yet very outspoken about things.
What he is clearly passionate about is simply dressmaking. He would spend hours in his studio cutting, molding, fitting for dresses and pieces that he designs. Today, as the fashion industry has become highly corporatized) probably he is the only last couturier that is still very much in control of the house and the craftsmanship of the collection.
[Lindsey Wixson in Alaïa retrospective/ Peter Lindbergh]
I have personally encountered Monsieur Alaïa himself in his own flagship store, at Le Marais district in Paris. When I was there, I've seen him talking to a woman who looks like a big Alaïa customer, as she was trying out a dress. After, he was seen talking to a sales assistant about store packaging. He was also kind enough to pose with shop visitors who fangirl over him. After seeing all this, I could only admire him more. I mean, how fucking awesome is that!
The thing that makes him even more elusive is the fact that he never advertises, he apparently also never loan to celebrities. Though they did buy his collection, or was gifted by Monsieur Alaïa himself.
Alaïa's name is also forever attached to pop culture, as he was referenced in the iconic 90s flick Clueless. Who can forget the scene when Alicia Silverstone's character was robbed and held at gunpoint then refused to get on the ground because- of course- "It's an Alaïa!"
[Alicia Silverstone as Cher in Clueless, 1996]
What's even more fascinating for me, is that Alaïa works against the fashion system. He would cancel a presentation if he was not satisfied by the collection, even if it was in last minute (something he truly did, as i heard about that back when i worked in a buying office for a major luxury department store). His fashion show dates are always outside the fashion calendar. He would only present when he finishes and satisfied with it 100%.
He also got the balls to openly criticized Anna Wintour by calling her a dictator, and threw a major shade at Karl Lagerfeld by calling him a caricature. So basically, he does not give a flying fuck. Fashion these days stands on the land of kiss-ass, and this is quite refreshing honestly.
Azzedine Alaïa couldn't be more fascinating as a true legend in the industry. I must not say anything more, I let you all watch it yourself and see the documentary (click here to watch it). See what Naomi Campbell, Carylne Cerf de Dudzelle, Nicholas Ghesquiere, and some notable fashion people had to say; that there is no one like him.