Saturday, August 1, 2009

Where in the World is Azzedine Alaia?

Where in the World is Azzedine Alaia? Not in the spreads of Vogue or on the runways of Fashion Week that's for sure. Every time I would come across his name an interest would spark. Here was a designer who was one of the emblems of 80's fashion and known as the master of female form yet you couldn't look at works on or search his name in WWD.

Alaia is one of the last couturiers of the old world, a world of Cristobal Balenciaga and Christian Dior. A world where strong relationships were forged with clients and models, a world where the designer had a hand in every seam, a world not so binded by commercial success. One of the reasons why Alaia is so enigmatic is because he doesn't design on the protocol schedule. He doesn't design for seasons instead he only designs when he is truly inspired, inspired he says, by the evocation of certain materials. In an age where muses are diluted among celebrities Alaia keeps his close, his strongest supporters such as Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour refer to him as Papa. It is to be said that Alaia's house at any time of day is always filled with artists and he is known to have one the greatest haute couture collections in the world. His clothes, his life and his aesthetic seem to be steeped in some other world, a world richer, saturated with more culture.

Known as the "King of Cling" Alaia, who studied sculpture is said to make clothes that flatter the women body, unparalleled to anyone another designer. It is strange that in a time where fall runways are filled with Alaia influenced designs his name is absent from mainstream fashion. His clothes are rarely featured in Vogue nor are any of his work featured in the "Model as Muse" exhibition, despite the fact that Alaia is known for having a particularly strong relationship with models from Tatjana Patitz to Campbell. He blames this absence on Anna Wintour who also rarely features his clothes in editorials.

So where is he? Tunisia? Paris? His clothes seem mysteriously to be appear at Barney's every so often and people are known to collect his clothes as treasured pieces of art. Alaia seems more elusive than Carmen herself who, with her red trench coat and matching fedora is pretty easy to spot. Yet I guess when your clothes are so beautiful you really don't have to be center stage to get the recognition you deserve.

No comments: