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August 1 2014

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43 posts tagged "Azzedine Alaia"

The Past Is Present: Azzedine Alaïa and Carla Sozzani on His New Store, His Forthcoming Fashion Foundation, And Their Decades-Long Friendship

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Azzedine Alaia and Carla Sozzani

They say that behind every great man is a woman. In Azzedine Alaïa’s case, that woman is 10 Corso Como’s Carla Sozzani—the designer’s friend since 1979, and business adviser since 1999. Sozzani joined Alaïa for the opening of his striking new three-story Paris boutique this weekend. Set in an eighteenth-century maison on Rue de Marignan in the eighth arrondissement, the shop is nothing less than we’d expect from Alaïa: clean and minimal, with paintings by Christoph von Weyhe and luxe decor by the likes of Charlotte Perriand, Angelo Mangiarotti, Marc Newson, and Pierre Paulin. Indeed, bringing the shop to life was no small feat. But even though he’s had a busy Paris fashion week (in addition to the store opening, Alaïa is the subject of a retrospective at the Musée Galliera, which opened on September 28), Alaïa shows no signs of slowing. Instead, he’s looking to the future and planning to launch a foundation to help preserve and celebrate fashion history. Here, Sozzani and Alaïa speak to Style.com about their relationship, the designer’s expansive vintage collection, and the new boutique.

Can you tell us a bit about your relationship?

Carla Sozzani: For me, there are two Azzedines. There’s the one who’s my chosen family—we’ll be friends all our life. And then there is the artist, the master. I love them both, for different reasons.

Azzedine Alaïa: Carla was behind this boutique; it’s thanks to her. But putting fashion aside, she is a great friend and a rare woman.

How did you choose this space?

CS: Azzedine wants to make his home in the Marais a foundation and museum for his clothes, his work, and his collections. He has compiled a huge amount of Vionnet, Balenciaga, Margiela, Comme des Garçons, African art. He agreed to this space, which is really like a house, because there are no shop windows. There’s a garden. It lets him be free. Azzedine always says that the best thing France ever gave him was citizenship, so he’s always happy to give back.

Alaia store

How did you begin collecting?
A.A.: In the beginning, I never considered myself a collector. It’s just that when I discover something I like, I want to learn more about it. It just so happened that when Balenciaga closed [in 1968], I realized that, for fashion’s sake, I had to do something. Everything was being marked down and sold, people were leaving. And I thought it was just stupid that this heritage would disappear and be lost. That’s when I started making a selection of pieces in function of whom I like, and I still do. Always. I pick things from each of Rei [Kawakubo]‘s collections. I have Vionnet, Dior. But Rei stands apart. Continue Reading “The Past Is Present: Azzedine Alaïa and Carla Sozzani on His New Store, His Forthcoming Fashion Foundation, And Their Decades-Long Friendship” »

Sculpting Fashion: Olivier Saillard Talks Alaïa at the Musée Galliera

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Azzedine Alaia by Patrick DemarchelierFor the past four years, Paris’ famed Musée Galliera has been closed for renovations. This week, the historic fashion museum reopens with Alaïa—the first Parisian retrospective dedicated to Azzedine Alaïa’s work. “For me, Alaïa was the obvious choice—he stands alone,” offered the Galliera’s director, Olivier Saillard, who has curated the museum’s roving shows since 2010. (The 2011 Madame Grès show—hosted by the Musée Bourdelle—as well as Tilda Swinton’s mesmerizing Spring ’13 performance, The Impossible Wardrobe, were both Saillard’s work.) Here, in an exclusive preview, the curator speaks to Style.com about bringing a “new-old” museum back to life, what sets Alaïa apart, and how Swinton has inspired him to take up sewing.

How did your vision for the Musée Galliera take shape?
It was a funny situation because I was named the museum’s director after it closed for renovations, so I started doing outside shows. In my mind, the “new-old” Galliera—I call it that because we’ve restored it to its nineteenth-century appearance—really began to take shape with the 2011 Madame Grès exhibit at the Musée Bourdelle. We did it on a shoestring budget. You could say that Madame Grès changed my idea of what the Galliera should be. Ever since then, I’ve been convinced that an exhibition’s power comes solely from how you see the clothes. When you look at a dress by Alaïa, you don’t need anything else.

How did you approach Alaïa about the exhibition?
I first mentioned it to him years ago. Two years later, he invited me to dinner. I don’t really remember when he said yes, because he never says no, even if that’s what he means. Then, a year ago, he put his collection on hold because this exhibition was coming up. I’ve never met another designer who would do that. What’s interesting about Alaïa is that he takes the time to understand and see things. He approaches his clothes like a sculptor or an architect or a writer, and he often says, “I make clothes; women make fashion.” Continue Reading “Sculpting Fashion: Olivier Saillard Talks Alaïa at the Musée Galliera” »

Hannelore Knuts Pals Around With Pallas

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Tucked away in the ninth arrondissement, the family-run Pallas atelier, which is known for its hand-finished Petite Couture tailoring, has been a secret weapon for major fashion houses, from Balenciaga to Céline to Thierry Mugler, since it was founded in 1961. Fifty-two years later, Pallas is emerging from behind the scenes with a new capsule collection of seven made-to-order tuxedos done in collaboration with Hannelore Knuts. An iconic Belgian model, Knuts is best known for her androgynous appeal (she recently played David Bowie in the indie film DAVE), as well as setting a record for covering—count ’em—three consecutive issues of Vogue Italia, back in 2001. “As someone who’s always been typecast as a tomboy, I felt somehow related to the aesthetic of the Le Smoking,” Knuts told Style.com.

Despite never having designed a suit before (she has, however, done a handbag with Delvaux and a bike for Marniek Kint), Knuts had plenty of ideas for modernizing the classic tuxedo based on her years on the job. “I was really close with Haider Ackermann and got to work closely with Azzedine Alaïa, who regularly did fittings on me and always welcomed me in his studio,” she said. “I’ve seen the process. I’ve witnessed and experienced it. And now I’m actually doing it for the first time, but it didn’t feel unnatural. I appreciate that details, like adjusting the hemline a few centimeters or changing the button finishing, can make or break the entire look.” Knuts herself wasn’t hunched over a table with a measuring tape around her neck and pins in her mouth, but she did suggest several updated silhouettes, such as a hoodie jacket and a seventies-inspired jumpsuit. She also styled and photographed herself for the lookbook. The images, which Knuts shot in Paris’ Le Petit Trianon Theatre, debut above. “I appreciate Pallas’ old-school approach to craft and am excited to help them creatively,” offered Knuts. “Experiences like this make modeling richer and more fulfilling.”

Photo: Hannelore Knuts 

 

Alaïa’s Aria

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In May of 2012, the L.A. Philharmonic launched its Mozart/Da Ponte project—a three-year-long commitment to staging the pair’s trio of eighteenth-century operatic masterpieces: Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, and Cosi Fan Tutte. Last year, the institution partnered with California natives Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte and architect Frank Gehry to create the Don Giovanni costumes and set, respectively. This year, for its The Marriage of Figaro production, the L.A. Phil sourced talents from across the pond, tapping Azzedine Alaïa for costumes and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel for the set. Under the helm of conductor Gustavo Dudamel and director Christopher Alden, Alaïa (who’s also preparing for a solo exhibition of his work at Paris’ Musée Galliera this fall) has created rich wares for the opera’s female and male cast, marking the first time in our memory that he’s tried his hand at menswear. The designer stuck to his signature knit silhouettes for the onstage looks, infusing them with a hint of metallic and bead detailing to catch the spotlight. Alaïa’s original sketches for the leads—Count and Countess Almaviva, played by Christopher Maltman and Dorothea Röschmann—debut exclusively above.

The Marriage of Figaro: May 17, 19, 23, 25, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. For tickets, visit www.laphil.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Azzedine Alaïa and the L.A. Philharmonic

Hellessy Knows What Women Want

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A woman can’t live on cocktails alone. So why do designers churn out so many cocktail dresses? That’s a question that nagged Sylvie Millstein, the designer behind the newly launched label Hellessy. Millstein, who was born in Paris to a French father and a Japanese mother, was the head merchant for Chanel in Japan before relocating to New York in 2007, where she’s been raising a family and acting as a personal shopper and stylist to private clients. “I don’t have a background in design,” she said at a preview of her Fall collection yesterday morning, “but I do have a background in merchandising, so I know how clothes work on the customer and what they want: beautiful finishings, price points.” Her new label isn’t completely devoid of cocktail numbers, but seeing a void in the market for elevated daywear, that’s where Millstein put her focus. In the mix are pieces like a luxed-up parka with a fur collar, long-sleeve sheaths, flaw-concealing peplum tops, a trompe l’oeil jacket that’s actually a shirt you zip into in back, and leather jeans—”secret weapons,” Millstein calls them, “that come out every week, or every other week.” Fans of Victoria Beckham’s simple, body-enhancing dresses will want to take a closer look at Hellessy. Azzedine Alaïa, Rick Owens, and Stella McCartney are among Millstein’s favorites; their sensibilities inform her work, as well. The collection, which was picked up by Kirna Zabete in New York for Spring, retails for less than $2,000.