On the Runway: Checking In on the Alaïa Experiment

Think you can identify clothes from 1985 and 1990 today? Think again. Sometimes, fashion really is timeless.
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Azzedine Alaïa RTW Spring 2019

Since Azzedine Alaïa passed away unexpectedly last year, his design team has focused on remaining as faithful as possible to the couturier, who famously ignored show seasons and staged catwalk displays when he felt like it.
Some of his couture creations, originally shown between 2010 and 2015, are available by special order directly in the brand’s stores.
Since last season, the label also offers faithful reproductions of vintage designs under the Editions ready-to-wear label. For spring, they include an hourglass denim blazer from 1990, and a cropped white cotton poplin shirt from 1985.
The main collection reprised some of them — the white shirt, for example, came in a slightly longer version — and riffed on house codes such as cotton eyelet sundresses, raffia-fringed knits and ultra-fine ankle-length knit dresses. The timeless approach makes sense — at $ 4,000 apiece, the knit gowns are naturally investment pieces.
A capsule collection of dresses, T-shirts, bags, scarves and shoes featured a heart and ribbon motif lifted from Alaïa’s spring 1992 collection. Inscribed with the phrase “Mon Coeur est à Papa,” it refers to the nickname that models including Naomi Campbell used for Alaïa, whom they saw as a father figure.

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London’s Design Museum to Salute Azzedine Alaïa With Retrospective

ALL ABOUT AZZEDINE: London’s newly opened Design Museum in Holland Park will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer had helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month.
The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the Groninger Museum, will look at the impact his work has had worldwide.
The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to Oct. 7 and feature specially commissioned pieces of design and sculpture by Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson and Kris Ruhs, with whom Alaïa collaborated in 2015. The 2015 show at the designer’s Paris gallery called “The Hanging Garden” featured an installation of 45,000 shapes.
Alaïa is recognized for his ability to drape and sculpt on the human frame with different materials, using innovative cuts, fits and tailoring methods. In July, he returned to the couture calendar after a six-year hiatus and was ready to open a long-awaited London flagship early next year.
Alaïa was celebrated by fashion designers new and old in the industry. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons described Alaïa as a designer who “worked with his heart and soul.”
Last week at the Fashion Awards in London, Alaïa was top of mind, with lineup

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Azzedine Alaïa, Fashion’s Most Independent Designer, Is Dead at 82

The designer insisted on his freedom and worked, argued, and cooked on his own schedule.
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Fashion World Mourns Death of Azzedine Alaïa

PARIS — The fashion community poured out tributes on Saturday to Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, following his death here at age 77.
The cause of death was heart failure.
The diminutive Tunisian-born designer was known for his structured, exacting tailoring and his refusal to bow to industry timetables and marketing pressures, preferring to work at his own pace.
He gained international fame in the Eighties because of the success of his evening dresses, snug knits and sculpted leathers, and he was nicknamed “The King of Cling” because his clothes fit like a second skin.
SEE ALSO: Azzedine Alaïa Talks Creativity and Copy Cats >>
Alaïa counted Carla Sozzani, founder of the concept store 10 Corso Como, and supermodel Naomi Campbell – who called him Papa – among his inner circle. Stars such as Tina Turner, Madonna, Michelle Obama, Grace Jones, Raquel Welch, Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus were among his customers.

Azzedine Alaïa and Carla Sozzani 
Stéphane Feugère

Sozzani told WWD that Alaïa died peacefully and without suffering. The pair were out and about as recently as Nov. 7, when they attended the opening of an exhibition of Leïla Menchari’s window designs

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Front Row at Azzedine Alaïa Couture Fall 2017

INNER CIRCLE: Azzedine Alaïa’s couture show on Wednesday — the first by the house in six years — sparked special memories for Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Farida Khelfa, who joined the likes of Daphne Guinness, Nicolas Ghesquière and Stephen Jones in the front row for the event, held at the designer’s Marais headquarters.
“It’s a very special place here at Azzedine’s,” said Bruni-Sarkozy recalling “shows here with all the girls, and days and days spent here, sometimes for fittings, sometimes just hanging out.” The singer said she has a new album due out on Oct. 6, “and I’ll be coming to America to promote it.”
A few rows down, Jean-Paul Goude, who was catching up with Patrick Demarchelier, at one point pausing, mesmerized, to stroke the photographer’s feral eyebrows, also shared his personal memories of working with Alaïa.
“I remember when I was living with Farida, one of my great loves, we hung out a lot together and I was very inspired by the fact that he was not only Azzedine Alaïa but that he was from the other side of the Mediterranean, like Farida, and that fascinated me,” said Goude, who revealed he’s working on a capsule for the Spanish clothing label Desigual.

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Azzedine Alaïa to Present Fall 2017 Couture Collection

SHOW BUSINESS: When it comes to the relentless fashion cycles, Azzedine Alaïa has never been a slave to the rhythm. The Tunisian-born designer famously likes to present his collections according to his own agenda, and they’re highly intimate affairs, held in his Rue de Moussy headquarters in Paris’ Marais district.
His couture shows are an even rarer occurrence, with the last dating back six years. For his latest, the designer has chosen to get in sync with Paris Couture Week with his fall couture show scheduled to take place on July 5, in an evening slot falling between the Valentino and Fendi shows.
His last couture show was presented in 2011 after an eight-year hiatus from the runway, with the epic event drawing guests including Sofia Coppola, Kanye West, Donatella Versace and Victoire de Castellane.
The designer held his spring 2017 ready-to-wear show in October.
Alaïa at the start of his career only ever presented couture collections at his Rue de Bellechasse atelier, according to a spokeswoman for the house. He shifted to presenting rtw in 1981 while continuing to create couture pieces. They were mainly presented in museum exhibitions such as the Palais Galliera’s 2013 show dedicated to the designer.
The Alaïa couture line

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Azzedine Alaïa RTW Spring 2017

This brisk and pretty show – with a gust of sportif and a smattering of shine – blunted the aggravation of its inexplicable timing on a Sunday afternoon more than two weeks after the close of the international fashion circuit.
While Parisians were out brunching and taking advantage of fine weather and Sunday shopping hours in the Marais district, Azzedine Alaïa loyalists packed into his headquarters to witness his take on athletic style, merged with shapes from the Sixties and groovy optical prints.
Zippered blousons, swingy tennis skirts and plunging swimsuit bodices felt like new territory for the exacting designer, who replaced the leisure in ath-leisure with glamour, paving bodycon dresses with silver studs or jet beds and boxy tanks with crystals. He tempered the volume at the hips and the signature skater flare of his skirts, which is looking dated.
Flat shoes and sandals in hole-punched leather – and hair wound up in laces, like ballerinas during rehearsal – heightened the active allure of the collection.
A series of gently flaring shifts with bars of color seemed liked a new take on Yves Saint Laurent’s famous Mondrian dresses, a comparison Alaïa rejected backstage, saying he designs without references, “the same way I always have.”
Crisp

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Azzedine Alaïa RTW Fall 2016

Sunday, almost one month after the end of Paris Fashion Week, brought glorious springlike weather and coincided with the 40th Paris marathon — as well as Azzedine Alaïa’s fall show. The designer is apparently as impervious to time as a mountain range. See-later, buy-later seems to be his counterintuitive slogan.
 
And yet he drew a full house to his Rue de Moussy headquarters at 2 p.m., the audience including actress Elsa Zylberstein, French politician Fleur Pellerin, art dealer Jérôme de Noirmont, photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino, fashion executives Jean-Marc Loubier and Stanislas de Quercize, and marquee retailers such as Adrian Joffe of Dover Street Market and Tommy Perse of Maxfield. Monica Bellucci and Nicolas Ghesquière turned up for the 5:30 p.m. display.
 
Alaïa told WWD he opted to present his collection much later than everybody else  in Europe simply because his clothes can’t be made with a stopwatch. “I took the time necessary to create them,” he shrugged after the show, as guests rushed to congratulate him. Here was a powerful argument for slow fashion: a diverse, sleek and considered collection full of new shapes and embellishments from a designer stereotyped for curve and cling.
 
Consider the fabulous outerwear. Long a go-to guy for body-con dresses and flaring

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Azzedine Alaïa Unveils Kris Ruhs Installation

GARDEN PARTY: Shapes — an estimated 45,000 of them — are on display at Azzedine Alaïa’s gallery in Paris, site of his spring-summer 2016 fashion show earlier in October.
But the shapes are branches, leaves, blooms and berries, all handmade in brass and white porcelain by American artist Kris Ruhs and strung from the ceiling in dense, paisley-shaped arrangements – like some abstract Christmas tree.
Titled “The Hanging Garden,” the installation was unveiled Thursday in tandem with the Fiac contemporary art fair.
Leading a tour of the display, art scholar and critic Donatien Grau said it took more than a week for Ruhs to assemble the thousands of elements, with members of Alaia’s design students lending a hand — along with a number of artist helpers, including Tatiana Trouvé, Adel Abdessemed, Mike Bouchet and Julian Schnabel.
“It makes you smile,” said Grau, calling shapes the linchpin element of Ruhs’ work, which spans jewelry, interiors and objects.
Billed as the first Paris exhibition for Ruhs, it runs through Dec. 27.

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Why Alaia Baldwin (Yes, Hailey Baldwin’s Big Sister!) Is the Next Model to Watch

Celebrity siblings are taking the fashion industry by storm. First there was Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Then came Gigi and Bella Hadid. Now, Alaia Baldwin is joining younger sis Hailey (not to mention cousin Ireland, talk about good genes!) in pursuing modeling. The 22-year-old recently signed with new modeling agency State Management, which represents girls with strong looks and personalities. She is reportedly moving to New York next week to focus full-time on her new career.

alaia-baldwin

With her freshly-shorn brunette shag—the style of the moment—and kohl-rimmed eyes, Alaia (she couldn’t have a better name for fashion) has a totally different look and energy than her bubbly blonde sister Hailey, 18, who people often mistake for being older than her. But much like Insta-famous Hailey, who boasts 2 million-plus followers, Alaia has some well-known friends including Sailor Brinkley-Cook, who appears alongside her brother Jack in the latest issue of Town & Country – count them as yet another celeb sibling duo.

Other fun facts about Alaia: she’s allergic to gluten, loves juicing, and when she’s bored she “just googles her family”.

alaia-baldwin-hailey-baldwin
Alaia with sis Hailey.


a girl once more

A photo posted by @alaiabbbaldwin on

Alaia is interested in doing edgy fashion shoots, citing Freja Beha Erickson as her model inspiration; her @alaiabaldwin followers claim her rock’ n’ roll look is perfect for a Saint Laurent campaign. Is she genetically blessed or just lucky? When it comes to fashion, having a famous last name clearly helps get you get in the front door, but you’ve got to have the moxie, talent, and work ethic to really “make it.” Do you think Alaia has what it takes?



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Azzedine Alaïa ‘Couture/Sculpture’ Exhibit Opens in Rome

The Galleria Borghese museum in Rome on Thursday was brimming with tourists taking in the incredible collection of art on display, but Azzedine Alaïa was quite the showstopper himself as he walked through the building’s ornate salons with WWD for a preview of the “Couture/Sculpture: Azzedine Alaïa in the History of Fashion” exhibition. Signing autographs and posing for a few selfies with visitors professing enduring admiration, Alaïa carefully tucked a pleat here and fixed a drape there on some of the 65 designs on display. The looks seamlessly fit in with the art, whether they be bondage dresses in the Egyptian room or a crocodile jacket standing next to an antique armored bust.
“This is a mythical location, the most replete with masterpieces, and we did not want to move them around or disturb them,” said Alaïa, acknowledging the privilege of showing his designs in such a venue. Dresses in blue or red velvet stood near paintings by Caravaggio, almost reflecting the masterpieces’ lighting, while the designer’s dresses made with feather-light raffia and shells, horsehair or shark skin could have been inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s stunning marble statue of “Apollo and Daphne” depicting the nymph morphing into a tree. An off-white

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