Sunday, 26 December 2010

Behind The Seams: The Timeless Allure of Azzedine Alaïa

Stephanie Seymour & Azzedine Alaïa
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I do not think about clothes or about 'trends.' I just pick up the fabric and go to the girl and the ideas come.~ Azzedine Alaïa

Illustrations by Thierry Perez ~ early 1990s
Images are courtesy of: Decoy Magazine

Of all the stellar names working in fashion for the last thirty years, only one is synonymous with exquisite, flawless craftsmanship, true innovation, subdued quality of the highest standards, master tailoring, and the precision cut: Azzedine Alaïa. And yet, even with such reputable, acclaimed credentials, Alaïa has always had an uneasy relationship with the fashion industry - at once a fashion outsider on the peripheral edge of the industry, marching to the beat of his own drum, having not enjoyed the immediate name and brand recognition of more lucrative labels, he is, nonetheless, the darling of fashion insiders, hailed by editors, models and celebrities in the know for the superb, matchless fit of his clothing. 

 Linda Evangelista & Naomi Campbell (Naomi in Azzedine Alaïa's leopard-print knits) 
Illustration by Thierry Perez ~ 1991
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That said, just what is it about Azzedine Alaïa's apparel that, although one can probably date them to a certain time period or even to specific collections, remain completely wearable and  modern today? And what draws women to his clothing, with legions of such renowned and fiercely loyal, life-long devotees that include the likes of models (and muses) Naomi Campbell, Veronica Webb and Stephanie Seymour (all of whom were generously housed and personally cared for by Alaïa when they each came, as neophytes, to Paris at the beginning of their modeling careers); French and Italian Vogue editors-in-chief Carine Roitfeld and Franca Sozzani, respectively, as well as Franca's sister, Milanese gallery/emporium owner and close Alaïa friend, Carla Sozzani; and more recently, the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama? How does Azzedine Alaïa manage to sidestep whatever current wildfire trends - in whichever year or decade - while still keeping to his own, pure vision - creating innovative designs that have very little, if anything, to do with the current mood in contemporary fashion and can yet withstand the test of time? Is it the subtle yet unmistakably rich quality of his fabrics? The manufacture of his clothing? The fit (and seductive flirtatiousness) of his designs? Is it the impeccable finishing of his garments? The superfluous-free, subdued details? The streamlined cuts of his leathers and seamed knits? Is it his accessories, all of which have become collectors' items, coveted by Alaïa officionados the world over?

Illustrations by Thierry Perez ~ early 1980s
Images are courtesy of: Decoy Magazine

Or is it, perhaps, the man himself (always attired in his customary black Chinese pajamas and whose 750,000-square-foot headquarters - comprising his aterliers, showroom, gallery and a three-story minimalist boutique, discreetly housed in an 18th-century mansion at 5 Rue de Marignan with its hallmark feature: a total absence of window displays - is presently situated at  7 Rue de Moussy, in the Marais district) - his evident love, knowledge and understanding of women and their bodies, the curves of which (and through the many years of work experience) he has come to know only too well; his diminutive size (and the gigantic stature of his reputation among other high-profile, world-class designers - many of whom have sung his praises and paid tribute to the importance of his contributions to the history of fashion); the singular aesthetic vision and the sophistication of his design sensibilities and/or taste; his unstinting generosity (Alaïa lent his showroom/studio space - where he himself has shown his own collections for over twenty years - to designers Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano to stage their first shows in Paris)? Perhaps it is his adamant refusal to conform to the set standards and show-time (and shipping delivery) schedules other than his own, doggedly working at his own pace in pursuit of perfection - for a collection in 2000, for instance, Alaïa featured leather kilt skirts embroidered with tiny flowers on each, individual pleat, a process he began the previous year. Or is it his working methods, his direct involvement in every step of the evolutionary process of his concepts, from pattern drafting, draping, cutting, sewing, and production of orders? Perhaps it is his work ethic (it is not usual to find him working alone at 4 o'clock in the morning), his steadfast dedication to the mastery of his craft - in the traditions of the true, great Parisian couturiers? It is likely a combination of all these things and more. 
(Sources: Horyn, C.,, 2000; Socha, M., WWD, Azzedine Alaïa 'Maison' Opens in Paris, September 28, 2013).

Spring/Summer Haute Couture ~ 2003
(Above left photo, Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue | Above right photo, Robert Kot)
Above left image, courtesy of: Vogue UK | Above right image, courtesy of: trouvaillesdujour

 In the hands of Azzedine Alaïa, a dress is so much more than stitched fabric.
It's an exaltation of the female form. A technical masterpiece. A unique vision.
~ Dana Thomas

In an age where annual sales revenues are the bottom-line and where multi-media, mass-market advertising  and brand licensing are the norm (and a downright expectation), used to generate brand recognition among the masses for any fashion house competing for a place in the highly competitive arena of fashion today, the designer who came to be known as the "King of Cling" in the heady days of the 1980s has always spurned any form of advertising and self-promotion - since Alaïa does not advertise, he has none of the advantages of some other designers who spend huge sums on advertising in the glossy pages of top fashion magazines, wielding influence and control over editors; thereby, virtually guaranteeing favourable reviews for their collections. 

Born in Jemmal, Tunisia, on February 26th, 1935 (biographical sources variously state his birth year as being either 1939 or 1940; Alaïa refuses to give or to confirm precise dates), Azzedine Alaïa grew up surrounded by women from the earliest age: his mother, grandmother, a twin sister (who passed away in 1992 of cancer and with whom he had an extremely close relationship; distraught over her loss, he stopped producing big shows after her death), the women he lived with when he came to Paris; indeed, women have shaped his destiny much as he himself came to shape the clothes that defined and emphasized their feminine forms.
(Sources: Sischy, I., The New Yorker, 1994:171;, 2009; Friedman, V., Azzedine Alaïa, Fashion’s Most Independent Designer, Is Dead at 82, The New York Times, November 18, 2017)

Naomi Campbell with Azzedine Alaïa
Above left image, courtesy of: | Above right image, courtesy of: Diamante Ka.

In Tunis and against the wishes of his father (a wheat farmer), Azzedine, who lied about his age to gain entry, enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts where he was encouraged to study sculpture, earning money for art supplies by working for a seamstress who lived nearby and where he first became acquainted with the rudimentary principles of sewing. He also worked, for a few years in his youth, assisting a local midwife, Madame Pinot, delivering babies.

In 1957, Alaïa moved to Paris to study haute couture. On the second day of his arrival in Paris, he found work as an apprentice (for a total of five days) at the prestigious House of Dior. (He was dismissed from Dior on the premise that he did not have a legal work permit; Alaïa, however, maintains that he was let go due to anti-Algerian racial prejudice - at the time of his arrival in France, Algeria, was demanding its independence. It is alleged that Alaïa was approached by Dior, sometime in the 1990s, to take on the position of head-designer but refused the offer.) Finding himself unemployed and with little money, Alaïa found a room on the first floor of a large apartment building on the Rue Lord-Byron where, in an agreement for a cut in the rent, he delivered the mail and did some concierge duties when required. Through Tunisian connections, he had a few letters of introduction and was able to meet a few prominent, wealthy ladies (foremost among whom is the Comtesse Nicole de Blégiers, wife of a successful business man and at whose apartment Alaïa lived for five years). He soon found himself living in their maids' rooms, taking care of the cooking as well as their children. Sometimes he made clothes for them and for a few of their friends. (Sources: Sischy, I., The New Yorker, 1994:171; Horyn, C.,, 2000;, 2009)

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Illustrations by Thierry Perez
Images are courtesy of: Decoy Magazine

Eventually, Alaïa landed a job as a part-time design assistant at Guy Laroche in 1960, where he worked in the women's suit department of the Laroche atelier (and for a few years, he also designed costumes for the dancers at the Crazy Horse);  meanwhile, he continued to build a private clientele for his fledgling, custom-order dressmaking business. Then around the mid-1960s, Madame Simone Zehrfuss, an early client, helped him to find a tiny rental apartment on  the Rue de Bellechasse where he established his first formal atelier and where, from time to time, Alaïa staged a few small shows (he remained at his Bellechasse address till the late 70s or early 80s, when he relocated to Rue de Parc-Royal in the Marais). During that time, he also became the private dressmaker to the Marquise de Mazan.

For about twenty years from 1960 onwards, Azzedine worked as a pirvate couturier, all the while accumulating a list of luminous clientele, among whom was the aforestated Comtesse Nicole de Blégiers, Cécile de Rothschild (who, incidentally, introduced him to the elusive Greta Garbo; Garbo also became an Alaïa customer for whom he made overcoats and jersey tunics), Hollywood star Claudette Colbert, and the French film actress Arletty. A couple of years before he introduced his first ready-to-wear line in 1980, Alaïa produced a leather collection for Charles Jourdan which included garments riveted with metal-ring grommets. Always the experimenter, Alaïa used studded leathers and mixed bathing-suit material with jersey to create body-conscious dresses that became an immediate sensation. Then in an effort to better utilize the new technological advancements in stretch fabrics, Alaïa began to blend wool with lycra, giving full vent to his designs - and the infamous 'second-skin' Alaïa fit was born. Indeed, boiled wool has become a signature Alaïa fabric, whereby wool is weaved with lycra to create dresses and tops.  (Sources: Horyn, C.,, 2007, 2010;, 2010; Sischy, I., The New Yorker, 1994:171)

Azzedine Alaïa at work in his studio
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There is no sense of present or future in Azzedine’s work. With Azzedine, it’s not about style. Rather, it’s about the end. There is the feeling of the history of Paris couture in his clothes.” ~ Olivier Saillard

 The above four images are courtesy of: trouvaillesdujour
(The above four photos are by Robert Kot)

Azzedine’s clothes were perfectly pitched for the moment—they were the glamorous version of punk. Everyone who was groovy started coming in for them, from Bette Midler to Cher. They were buying Alaïas as fast as we could hang them up.”
~ Simon Doonan

In the great tradition of French haute couture, Alaïa prefers to work with fabric directly on the body; his greatest strength being his mastery of the draping/tailoring technique in  order to achieve the best fit. Where most other designers hire assistants to do so, Alaïa does his own draping, cutting and pattern-drafting. And although some of his clothing may deceptively appear to be simple to the untrained eye, they are in fact quite complex - some requiring more than forty individual pieces to assemble, with intricate seaming (and flawless finishing) to form the legendary body-embracing fit he is rightfully famous for. Working predominantly with knits, elasticised fabrics and leathers, Azzedine Alaïa combines the seaming and stitching methods normally applied to corsetry - including the usage of boning, underwiring and padding - to create clothing that has the uncanny ability to conform to, support, and control the wearer's body, molding it into shape.

As a designer celebrated for the intricacies of his cut (many of his designs are cut on the bias), Alaïa has an affinity with the great tailleur and inventor of the aforementioned - and difficult to master - bias-cut of the 1920s and 1930s, Madeleine Vionnet. (For all the simplicity of his lifestyle, Alaïa's only indulgence seems to be collecting vintage couture pieces by renowned couturiers Charles James and Madeleine Vionnet, as well as pieces by his favourite Hollywood costumier, Adrian; he began collecting in 1968 - Balenciaga dresses -and has amassed one of the best and extensive collections of vintage haute couture in the world.)

Vionnet - whose slinky crêpe-de-chine gowns are masterpiece examples of the art of the fluid bias-cut fit -also preferred to work directly with fabric, draping it on her famed little wooden mannequin and only when the fit and pattern were correctly worked out did she translate the pattern to life-sized models. (Sources:, 2010; Horyn, C.,, 2000; Seymour-Brant, S.,, 2009)

Grace Jones & Azzedine Alaïa ~ 1985
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 Image courtesy of: Fashion-esque

 The shows were always a secret, never on the schedule set by the Chambre Syndicale, which he wouldn’t join. He got the coolest crowd in the world. You’d see Grace Jones, César next to Tina Turner. While prissy nose-in-the-air editors were at the Ritz eating lunch, the real news was happening at Alaïa.” ~ Michael Gross

As has already been mentioned, after working many years in Paris as a private dressmaker, Azzedine Alaïa first introduced a small ready-to-wear collection in 1980 but continued to work on private commissions through until the mid-1980s. In his collections, Alaïa experimented with a wide range of fabrics (oftentimes collaborating with textile manufacturers, such as the one in Florence and a knitwear mill in Vicenza, which does the actual manufacturing, to create his own fabrics) - both conventional and new - including riveted leather, exotic skins, stretch lace, polymers, silk jersey, eyelet fabric and trimmings, tweeds, and he incorporated industrial zippers as part of his designs, which sinuously (and suggestively) snaked around the body. François Lesage, the premiere Parisian couture embroiderer, has aptly said of Alaïa, "It is easier to look at Azzedine's place in the fashion world than to explain it. He is a little bit like a temple of fashion. His sensibility is so much in opposition to the way to act, to live today, that he reminds me of Balenciaga. He loves to talk and laugh, but when he is alone, he's alone." (Quote: Horyn, C.,, 2000)

Working with a small, dedicated team of assistants out of the tiny workrooms of his studio in the Marais district, situated on the Rue de Moussy (which he has owned since 1987), Alaïa has managed to remain free - that is, he has protected himself, ensuring that he is always in a position of being in complete control of his work; he refuses to be dictated to by anyone. But for all the acclaim, by the mid-1990s all was not well with  his company and he was beset with personal as well as financial hardships. Due to his insistence on complete involvement in every detail of the production process, which inevitably caused delivery delays, store orders would arrive late - if at all. Even his shows were irregularly staged, and only when Alaïa was good and ready and not sooner, necessitating a return trip to Paris by fashion editors and buyers alike, long after other designers have shown during official collection weeks.

While some have leveled criticism against his working methods, citing supposed 'perfectionism' as an excuse to justify late deliveries, others have regarded the protracted pace and unpredictability of his lines' in-store arrivals with a sense of value, connecting the phenomenon of rarity to his clothing. To that point, Gene Pressman, co-president of Barney's in New York (the department store where Alaïa has had a retail account for years), had this to say about him in 1994, "We're usually very rigid when it comes to deliveries. He's the only exception. I basically don't give a damn when it comes as long as it does. Whenever it arrives, I'll take it, because he doesn't make mistakes. He makes classics."
(Source & quote: Sischy, I., The New Yorker, 1994:169)

Stephanie Seymour & Azzedine Alaïa at the Guggenheim Museum ~ 2004
Image courtesy of:

After the financially troubled 1990s, Alaïa found some form of stability when the Prada Group bought his label in 2000 - a small investment for Prada, considering it realized sales upwards of $1.924 billion in 2006 -the group had begun to buy other fashion houses in the late 1990s, including Jil Sander, Helmut Lang, and Church's Shoes. During the Alaïa term, which lasted for about seven years, the Alaïa brand experienced a resurgence in sales growth. For example, in 2006, the Azzedine Alaïa brand grossed a 30% sales increase, ballooning to roughly $17.8 million. Then in 2007, Alaïa fully bought back his company and regained 100% control of his house - and independence - once more. In a joint statement made by both Alaïa and Prada, it was made clear that the partnership with the Prada Group would continue to flourish through the development and production of the highly successful footwear and leather goods collections for Azzedine Alaïa.
(Source: Deeny, G.,, 2007)

Azzedine Alaïa honoured at the Guggenheim Museum ~ 2004
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Then after he bought back his company from the Prada Group in the summer of 2007, Alaïa sold it once more, this time to the Swiss luxury group, Richemont (known for luxury watches and jewellery and which also owns the fashion label Chloé) - with a current estimated annual revenue of $34 million - with the intended goal of not dictating to Alaïa what to do but rather, to allow him the freedom and license to pursue his own creative interests. Additionally, one stipulation of  the Richemont deal was that it create, at the designer's request, an archival foundation which would preserve Alaïa's legacy: his precisely executed, timeless designs and mastery of craft. Sylvia Bocchese, whose Italian knit factory has been manufacturing Alaïa's clothing for thirty years, and who personally delivers his samples to his studio for any discerning adjustments to be made, has said, "What is really the difference is that I have this direct contact with him. In the other ateliers, I deal with an assistant. In all these years, he is really the only one." (Quote: Horyn, C.,, 2010)

Azzedine Alaïa band dress (Spring/Summer 1990) on display at SoHo's Guggenheim Museum, New York City ~ 2000

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(Part of the Azzedine Alaïa retrospective at the Palais Galliera ~ September 28th, 2013 - January 26th, 2014)
The above two images are courtesy of: The Passionate Aesthete

In the savage world of fashion, he really stands out. He understands women, understands their bodies, and isn’t that half the point of it all? ~ John Fairchild

The above six images are from the Azzedine Alaïa in the 21st Century exhibition at the Groninger Museum, Netherlands
(December 2011 - May 2012)
The above six images are courtesy of: A.lain R. T.ruong

I’m not sure why it took so many years before he became known to the fashion world. He was most interested in improving his technique.
He didn’t care about money and fame.” ~ Mathilde de Rothschild

As with any creative personality, Azzedine Alaïa has had his fair share of feuds - the quickness of his temper is as legendary as the brilliance of his genius - most notably with the powerful Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, with whom he has had a standing feud for many years now (Vogue used to carry feature articles and editorials about Azzedine Alaïa, but has largely ignored his work for the better part of  fifteen years). After his work was excluded from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute gala, Model As Muse exhibition in May, 2009, the party of which is hosted and organized by Anna Wintour, Alaïa went on record saying, "She [Wintour] behaves like a dictator and everyone is terrified of her... but I'm not scared of her or anyone." Alaïa was not even extended the courtesy of being invited to attend the opening night gala.

Originally, Azzedine Alaïa had designed seven dresses exclusively for the exhibition's opening night to be worn by the likes of Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Stephnie Seymour. However, having found out that his designs were not represented in the exhibit - apart from one single photograph for Elle magazine (who has continuously supported Alaïa over the years by featuring profile articles and editorial features of his work) by Gilles Bensimon - Alaïa asked his muses not to wear them; instead, some of the models scheduled to attend the opening - Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour, most notably - went a step further and, in a show of support and allegiance to the designer, decided not to attend unless they could have represented his work. As the exhibition highlighted the relationship of the model as muse to the designer, it was rather odd not to include Azzedine Alaïa's work, whose relationship with several of today's most famous models is not only historical but in many ways, inseparable from their careers (in the 1980s, it was de rigueur for any model, serious about her career, to wear a clingy Alaïa dress for her "go-see" interviews). Harold Koda, the Metropolitan's chief costume curator, explained Alaïa's omission from the exhibit as he did not believe that the designer would agree to participate in a group showing (Koda, in a statement issued to the press afterwards, stated that he still hoped to someday put on a one-man exhibition of Alaïa's fashions, even though the Met has a policy against staging monographic exhibitions of living designers). (Sources & quote:, 2009; Horyn, C.,, 2009)

Two-piece day suit

Reticent though the Met may be about assigning solo exhibitions to living designers, others are not. In 1998, Azzedine Alaïa was honoured in the Netherlands with a solo, retrospective exhibition of his career in  fashion at the Groninger Museum; two years later, on September 22, 2000, the exhibition debuted at the SoHo branch of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, where it was curated by Mark Wilson and Jim Cook. (The exhibition was brought about through the negotiational efforts of Peter Brant, art collector and husband of long-time Alaïa friend/muse, Stephanie Seymour, with the Guggenheim.) (Sources: Menkes, S.,, 1998; Horyn, C.,, 2000) 

A more significant honour followed in 2008 when the French government bestowed on Alaïa (along with Gilles Dufour) the title of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. (Sources:, 2009;, 2010; Fashion Wire Daily, Godfrey, D., March 26, 2008) 

Azzedine Alaïa - the matchless and most original couturier of our time - passed away in Paris on November 18th, 2017, of heart failure; he was eighty-two years of age.

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Above: a few pieces from Spring/Summer ~ 2011

Autumn/Winter ~ 2010/2011
(Photos by Valerio Mezzanotti)

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(Film & direction by Ellen Von Unwerth)
Video courtesy of: Diane Pernet's ASVOFF ~ Vimeo

Paris Vogue ~ August, 2009

Spring/Summer ~ 2009
(The four photos above are by Willy Vanderperre)
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Spring/Summer ~ 2009
(Photo by Alasdair McLellan)

Part geometer, part alchemist, Alaïa endeavors to tame material into behaving in a manner alien to its intrinsic nature: chiffon takes on heft, knits assume structure, leather softens to a fluid. He carries a piece of the mutating petroleum-blue coat to an ironing board, where he steams some recalcitrant bit of fabric into submission.”
~ Amy Fine Collins, Vanity Fair

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Autumn/Winter ~ 2009/2010
(Photo by Angelo Pennetta)
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Spring/Summer 2009
Azzedine Alaïa's studio in the Marais district

Alaïa fitting a model at his studio
(The above two photos are by Jean-Luce Hure)
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Spring/Summer 2010
(The three photos above are by Valerio Mezzanotti)
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Autumn/Winter ~ 2009/2010
(The above two photos are by Valerio Mezzanotti)
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Above, pieces from the Spring/Summer 2003 Haute Couture Collection

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(Photo by Tommy Ton)
Image courtesy of: JAK & JIL

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Carla Sozzani in an Alaïa wool coat
(The two photos above are by Tommy Ton)
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Naomi Campbell ~ 2007
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Stephanie Seymour at the 2008 Guggenheim International Gala
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 His greatest idol was Madeleine Vionnet. He may not know it, but his genius has surpassed hers. He makes women feel empowered, absolutely original.” ~ Manolo Blahnik

The above photographs are all by Gilles Bensimon for Flaunt magazine (#109)
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Michelle Obama in Alaïa
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Former Paris Vogue editor-in-chief, Carine Roitfeld, in an Azzedine Alaïa 'corset' belt
(Photograph by The Sartorialist)
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Kate Moss & Naomi Campbell (in Alaïa) at the Barney's New York party ~ 2007
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Dress from the mid-1980s ~ (Vogue archives)

"The most beautiful women in the world wear Alaïa"

Spring/Summer ~ 1989
(Photo by Guy Marineau)

Autumn/Winter ~ 1989
(Photo by Guy Marineau)
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Azzedine Alaïa eyelet ensemble ~ Spring/Summer 1992

Perhaps the most intimate experience anyone might have with Alaïa is to observe his hands at work. The hands have been shaped by his métier—by pinching fabric, by pushing in pins, by endless small, sure fluttering and flowing movements, similar to the gestures of a sculptor modeling clay. His hands are flexible, but calloused.”
~ Amy Fine Collins, Vanity Fair


"The Azzedine Alchemy" -  Elle ~ May, 1992
(The photographs above are by Gilles Bensimon)
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Autumn/Winter ~ 1991/1992 (Leopard-print knits collection)

"Hot Naomi by Azzedine Alaïa" - Vogue Italia ~ December 1991
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When I design, I am always starting at the beginning. I consider that I know nothing. I have more problems making a pencil skirt now than I did two years ago! I am never sure that anything’s good enough.
Something that is good today will not be good tomorrow.” ~ Azzedine Alaïa

Veteran Alaïa muse & friend, Naomi Campbell ~ 1991
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The above image is courtesy of: Naomi Campbell
(The above three photographs are by Herb Ritts)

(The above two photographs are by Tom Munro) ~ Vogue Russia

The above six images of Naomi Campbell are courtesy of:

Naomi Campbell
(The above four photographs are by Dominique Issermann for Stiletto Magazine ~ Autumn 2013)
The above four images are courtesy of: Smartologie

The girls fought over what pieces they got to wear. Everyone in the world would be in the audience—Chirac, Mitterrand, artists, rock stars. They knew they were about to witness something no one had ever seen before.” ~ Veronica Webb

"Mad About Alaïa" - Harper's Bazaar ~ March, 2010
(Photograph by Peter Lindbergh)

"Easing Up" - Elle ~ August, 1996
(The above photographs are by Gilles Bensimon)

"The Master Touch" - Elle ~ September, 2000
(The above photographs are by Gilles Bensimon)

"The Allure of Alaïa" - Elle ~ October, 2001
(The photographs above are by Gilles Bensimon)

"The Artist And His Model" - Elle ~ January, 2003
(The photographs above are by Gilles Bensimon)

"Back to the Future" - Elle ~ July, 1995
(The photographs above are by Gilles Bensimon)
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“...but simplicity is nearly always deceptive. It cannot be achieved without a perfect command of technique.~ Ian Dunlop

Stephanie Seymour photographed by Richard Avedon for The New Yorker ~ 1994
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Photograph by Richard Avedon for The New Yorker ~ 1994
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With Tina Turner ~ ca. 1989

Christy Turlington

Naomi Campbell in an ensemble from the 1991 "TATI"-inspired collection
(The above photograph is by Herb Ritts)
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Naomi photographed by Herb Ritts ~ 1991
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Christy Turlington in Alaïa's "TATI"-inspired print ensemble

Illustrations of Naomi Campbell
Azzedine Alaïa's "TATI"-inspired print: Spring/Summer ~ 1991

The four illustrations above are all by Thierry Perez
The above four images are courtesy of: Decoy Magazine

Above left: sculpture of Naomi Campbell | Above right: sculpture of Grace Jones
(Both sculptures are by Thierry Perez)
Above left image, courtesy of: Naomi Hit Me | Above right image, courtesy of: Pinterest


Above image is courtesy of: The Style Rebels

Above left image, courtesy of: SanDiegoRed | Above right image, courtesy of: Rhianna Overdose

Above left image, courtesy of: El Blog de Ana Suero | Above right image, courtesy of: The Washington Post

Above left image, courtesy of: Style Mag | Above right image, courtesy of: Popsugar
Rhianna in Azzedine Alaïa at the 2013 Grammy Awards

Three times I have refused [the  Légion d'honneur]. From Mitterrand, from Chirac, and from Sarkozy. Why? Because the most beautiful decoration for me is when women are wearing my clothes.” ~ Azzedine Alaïa


Video is courtesy of: yasminlebondotnet ~ YouTube & Fashion Television

Video courtesy of: HetGroningerMuseum ~ YouTube

Video courtesy of: RTV Noord ~ YouTube

Video courtesy of: BLOUIN ARTINFO ~ YouTube

Video courtesy of: mairiedeparis ~ YouTube

Stephanie Seymour Clothes
Stephanie Seymour departs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala ~ May 5, 2008
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As far as my work is concerned, it's always been the same. The struggles that obsess me are whether a sleeve fits properly, whether I have the length right, whether a fabric works in all the ways it should. The challenge is how to make the clothes.
~ Azzedine Alaïa

(Photo by Jean-Paul Goude)
Image courtesy of: The Ground Magazine

Suggested readings:
Alaïa (2000), by Azzedine Alaïa & Michel Tournier: Gerhard Steidl Druckerei und Verlag (Germany)

Alaïa (2006), by François Baudot: Assouline
Alaïa: Azzedine Alaïa In The 21st Century (2012), by Groninger Museum: Exhibitions International

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