40 posts tagged "Azzedine Alaia"
Only when Paris fashion week winds down—and the exodus of editors, photo bloggers, and pretty young things is nearly complete—does an e-mail arrive from the Azzedine Alaïa press office informing those who remain about a series of intimate presentations to showcase the latest collection. Inviting a small number of media and friends (spotted: Jean-Paul Goude) to the showroom while buyers place their orders has become the unofficial protocol chez Alaïa, and it works because you can touch and feel the collection with the same unhurried focus as, say, Ken Downing from Neiman Marcus, who seemed noticeably impressed with some of the new techniques Monsieur Alaïa introduced for Fall.
This is the first collection to follow the Alaïa retrospective that recently ran its course at the reopened Palais Galliera in Paris. Was there a correlation between that survey of his career and the openwork polka-dot dresses or double-face gabardine coats? Hard to say without word from the designer. But one look at the construction of a stunning cape-backed bolero, or some of the knit patterning, and you sensed a certain engineering imperative—that he set out to push himself a bit further this time around.
To be sure, nothing was radically different. Mainly, Alaïa stuck to subtle silhouette updates, offering a roomier V-neck jumper and adding a rectangular fringe—occasionally knotted—to the edge of his skirts to give them a fresh swish in place of his typical flounce. A technique he dubbed “Religieuse” combined larger organ pleats with interior accordion pleats, and on a floor-grazing skirt or a truncated cape, the result was something akin to seeing Sister in the corner office. Indeed, with the recurrence of all those starched white poplin shirts, Alaïa further confirmed how his view of femininity has shifted since his heyday of cleavage-bearing necklines.
However, that’s not to suggest he’s repressed the sexiness: Witness the jagged booties, cut like leather spikes, and bicolor biker gloves. Body-skimming dresses benefitted from body-contouring jacquards so that waists seemed corseted by knit striping. If anything, he simply determined that the cues need not be as obvious. There were a few other dramatic—or better, dynamic—additions this season, namely the calf-hair pieces that had been striped with a slick lacquer and a grouping of wool suits in champagne and teal covered in a tonal coiled pattern. Metallic yarn reappeared this season, this time as a pixelated pattern and as a larger amorphous one. He also revisited the dimensional lantern-effect knits, in one example applying the dimensional technique around the bust of a cropped jacket that closed the show. The workmanship on these final looks was so deceivingly complex that it qualified as couture.
And that’s the thing about Alaïa, the couturier-architect whose clothes are so seriously and rigorously crafted that he can’t help but be diametrically less serious about everything else. Regulars to these intimate rendezvous would not have been surprised by the nostalgic, bossa-nova-style hits “Mambo Italiano” and “Quando Quando Quando” that accompanied the show. Swishy music for studied fashion: Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?
In the end, perhaps fashion isn’t so complicated. It boils down to this: How do I find my signature and how do I develop it over time? Three things that people have said to me on this subject have stuck in my mind:
Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele (stylist): “I get inspiration from Mr. Alaïa, Mr. Lagerfeld. They know, you know? They know. They are not like all these young designers who change every six months. I think this is strange, because when you have talent inside, you never really change.”
Azzedine Alaïa (designer): “It’s inconceivable to me that someone creative can have a new idea every two months. Because if I have one new idea in a year, I thank heaven.”
Riccardo Tisci (designer), speaking approvingly of Hedi Slimane’s tenure at Saint Laurent: “I think Hedi, he wrote his first chapter [i.e., at Dior Homme] in a capital of fashion, and then he took his time off, and then he started from the same page. It’s like when you go to bed and you’re reading a book: You do the little corner, and then the night after, you start from the same page. And the aesthetic that he does really belongs to him. For sure, it is something that doesn’t look like anybody else, and that’s what I like.”
These thoughts were thrown into particularly sharp relief during a busy day of shows in New York yesterday.
What’s more remarkable about Kors: the fact that he’s now worth a billion dollars or the fact that, after three decades in business, he isn’t resting on his laurels? With his last two collections, he has brought his vision of American luxury into razor-sharp focus.
A very different designer from Kors, of course, but in his own way as American as apple pie or Pop Art. Scott has done what you do if you have your own signature: lived through a few seasons where he enjoyed the support of the faithful—and it’s some faithful; he draws the liveliest crowd in town (hey there, Jared Leto)—but didn’t have the full attention of the fashion press. Thanks to his recent appointment as creative director of Moschino, he’s firmly back in the media spotlight. He didn’t waste the opportunity, delivering a collection that riffed confidently on two great American pastimes: sex and sports.
How do you define the signature of a commercial juggernaut, best known for its menswear, which is now making a serious push into womenswear? That’s Jason Wu’s brief at Hugo Boss. He’s started to do it with the collateral: an Inez and Vinoodh-shot campaign; Gwyneth Paltrow as the face of the fragrance. And his debut collection? As Nicole Phelps said in her review, “Wu’s challenge going forward will be to maintain the Boss polish while figuring out ways to loosen up and have a bit more fun.”
I would be remiss not to mention Sui in this recap. She is one of the treasures of the New York calendar. Here’s Tim Blanks on what made her latest collection such a decadent delight.
Krakoff has been giving this subject a great deal of thought lately. After a few collections that felt the anxiety of European influence, he is now focused on creating his version of American luxury. Read Nicole Phelps’ review here.
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez were part of a pack of young New York designers who broke through in the last decade. When they celebrated their tenth anniversary a couple of years ago, they decided to drill down on their label’s identity, starting with a powerful but understated new logo. Their aesthetic, now reliably their own, is rooted in the contemporary New York art world. It’s no coincidence that yesterday’s show took place at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, a gallery in the West Village.
IT’S RALPH, THOUGH
As it happens, I’m writing this after seeing Ralph Lauren’s show on this snowy Thursday morning. Lauren showed looks from his Polo line alongside his top-end collection today, and the move invigorated him. These clothes were as clear and direct as a Hemingway sentence. If America didn’t exist, Ralph Lauren would have had to invent it.
The fashion biz has had quite a year. 2013 was jam-packed with major designer shakeups, groundbreaking ad campaigns, celebrity collaborations, and pop star performance wardrobes filled with custom-made designer duds. In the final days leading up to 2014, we’re counting down Style File’s most popular twenty stories of the annum. So sit back, relax, and relive 2013′s unforgettable moments. Read numbers fifteen through eleven, below.
Nasty Gal’s Sophia Amoruso has been a newsmaker this year, to say the least. Shoppers and insiders alike watched in awe as her business took off, and now her multimillion-dollar e-tail platform is set to open a range of brick-and-mortar locations. Style.com’s Nicole Phelps sat down with the 29-year-old eBayer-turned-CEO in August to talk about her passion for vintage, the New York fashion scene, and the future of Nasty Gal.
14. Delphine Arnault and LVMH Announce the New LVMH Prize for Young Designers
In November, Style.com broke the news that mega-luxury group LVMH is launching a 300,000 euro international fashion prize for young designers. Style.com’s Matthew Schneier spoke with Delphine Arnault about the new initiative.
13. Nick Waplington Talks Alexander McQueen and Working Process
Before his tragic suicide in 2010, Alexander McQueen asked photographer Nick Waplington to document the creation of his fifteenth anniversary collection, the Horn of Plenty. Waplington was one of the only people outside of McQueen’s studio allowed to observe the designer’s creative process, and his new book, Alexander McQueen: Working Process, provides an unprecedented look at the creative genius in action. Style.com’s Katharine K. Zarrella spoke with the photographer about the tome, what it was like to work with McQueen, and why the designer was so keen on preserving his legacy.
12. Alaïa Walks the Dotted Line
Whenever Azzedine Alaïa holds a fashion show, it’s a special treat. In March—well after the ready-to-wear collections had wrapped—the legendary designer quietly presented his polka-dotted Fall ’13 offering at his Paris studio. Style.com had a front-row seat.
11. A Man’s World: Nick Wooster Talks Pitti
At Pitti Uomo this past June, tattooed dandy and menswear insider Nick Wooster spoke to Style.com about the evolution of the Florentine fair, his favorite new talents, and why he’s a “Disneyland attraction.”
Last year, Gill Linton launched Byronesque.com, a comprehensive Web site that, backed by Andrew Rosen and the late Marvin Traub, offers high-end vintage wares and sharp editorials. The online platform boasts a veritable treasure trove of rare, authenticated vintage designs, like an azure Jean Paul Gaultier frock, an asymmetrical Yohji Yamamoto dress, and a bevy of Thierry Mugler and Alaïa. And while it all looks spectacular in one’s browser, Linton felt she should create an IRL experience with the digital destination’s best stock.
Enter the site’s first brick-and-mortar venture, Byronesque.com//Offline, an exhibition and boutique housed in the dilapidated annex of the James A. Farley Post Office in New York City. Offline is complete with video installations, melancholic wall art by Craig Ward, and a vault of approximately forty impeccably dressed mannequins. Yesterday evening, insiders gathered to fete the project, which was punctuated with a live Polaroid photography session by the inimitable Michèle Lamy. “It’s difficult to [decide] what is mainstream or not…but being here feels real, and what they are trying to do is very important,” Lamy said of the site.
“There’s so much potential in vintage fashion,” said Linton. “It’s made better, there’s a story behind it, and there’s a history behind it. The way I merchandise the store is through storytelling—there’s a curve of Vivienne Westwood from Pirate to Seditionaries, for example—but it’s not that it has to be a linear progression. It’s about the energy of stuff.”
The stuff on display includes a 1984 John Galliano men’s kimono coat from his graduate Central Saint Martins collection, Les Incroyables (not for sale); a burlap Alexander McQueen look from F/W ’02; a 1986 Azzedine Alaïa leather zip dress; and a Katharine Hamnett allover marijuana-leaf-print bodysuit.
Glenn O’Brien lent his support by co-hosting the affair. “Everybody mixes vintage in,” he said, “I can’t tell you how long I’ve had this Kilgour, French, & Stanbury coat; it must be twenty years since I bought it at Barneys. Vintage is kind of where the next ideas come from. You can be a step ahead by wearing something that’s so out that it’s just about ready to come back.”
Byronesque.com//Offline will open to the public on December 12 and run through the 15th. Located at the James A. Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue at West 31st Street, the show will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.