Azzedine Alaïa Has Something To Say
The designer’s major leitmotifs were all present in 60 exits today: Laser-sharp perfectos and panel skirts glinting with silver zippers, ankle-grazing redingotes, body-skimming tops that fanned into skater skirts, and seemingly molten evening sheaths were all on display. In addition, he showed crisp white cotton shirts and straight black pants in a reprise of menswear-inspired looks he hasn’t revisited in some years. And there was also a segue into ample swing coats and capes in dove gray or cappuccino felted wool. Midway through, one editor was overheard murmuring, “I don’t even want to know what those jackets cost, and we haven’t even gotten to the crocodile yet.” Eventually, the crocodile duly appeared, in a short double-breasted jacket, a floor-sweeping overcoat in a deep blue that was almost black, and a bolero over an evening dress. The good news is it was actually patent leather with croc embossing, not the precious skin itself.
Save for a dozen or so coats, pants, and jackets cut from fabric and leather, Alaïa’s big message was knits and pushing them into new territory. He opened with sleek little catsuits in plum, pine, or black with a velvety finish that looked like it might be made of sueded stretch fabric, set against an eighties-vintage Prince soundtrack. Later, he paired the catsuits with sweater dresses, then spun the knit into short and sassy or graceful long dresses. What looked like red veins running through a skater dress proved upon closer inspection to be transparent webbing worked into a new jacquard. Dresses with zigzag edges had tiers of flounces light enough to tremble like petals. The designer explained after the show that he’d been tinkering with thread thickness and weave. “For me,” he said, “it’s about continuity, but also constant evolution.”