Azzedine Alaïa at the Christian Dior show during Paris Fashion Week in Paris on Jan. 24.
I can’t even deal with how awesome Azzedine Alaïa is. Just as I cannot believe I don’t own his massive, gorgeous Assouline coffee-table book because it will obvi make my brain bleed with its unbridled genius. I am, as the kids say, SLEEPING. Anyways, Alaïa’s been everywhere since he let slip this week that he’d been approached to helm Dior upon the fateful mustachioed meltdown of the anti-Semitic swashbuckler John Galliano (a fishtail-braided, boneheaded move that got dude nixed from the haus of CD). Alaïa refused and then proceeded to give a gloriously linktastic interview with Virgine Magazine, talking mas mess about Anna Wintour (he is not a fan) and branding the sunglassticled plasticine-faced Karl Lagerfeld a caricature and sellout.
He talks even more smack about potentially suing Hervé Léger for ripping off his bodycon contours, which is all well and good (and gives me that weird perverse joy you get from titans not giving a flying) but the thing that I love most is just how OLD SCHOOL the designer is. Knowing that he worked at Guy Laroche in the late ’50s overlapping with Valentino’s tenure there and a scant couple of years before Issey Miyake, KILLS ME. Plus, every single image (supermodel couture HEAVEN, seriously) from his Interview magazine chat with fashion editor and LEGENDARY stylist (even though she sorta hates the term), Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele (the names alone!), are priceless.
Even though the article focuses on the work of the former French Elle editor and Vogue editor, this niblet from Alaïa about his modular process fascinates me:
ALAÏA: A fashion designer and a creator is one thing; a photographer is also another thing. This allows you to divide up fashion into different categories. You’re given these building blocks and then you create something with it. So your creativity is always within you. You assemble, you construct, and then you imagine.
Also, my favorite quotes from the Virgine interview in order of appearance:
1. “Because of the war in Algeria I ended up working [at Dior] for only five days.”
2. “I was helping Madame Pinot, a midwife that helped in giving birth to my whole family.”
3. “When you have one idea per year, it’s already a miracle!”
4. “It has become crafty fiddling at a breakneck pace. That’s not the essence of fashion.”
5. “In 1979, it was all about eyelets, gloves, berets, and rubber trench coats.”
6. “I had seen crocodile skin drying in a warehouse, and they were as big as this table! And I thought that it was just impossible! I was told that they were made to cover furniture or carpets. I really wanted to use them for clothes, so we softened them by scratching them. It was like velvet.”
7. “Karl Lagerfeld never touched a pair of scissors in his life. That doesn’t mean that he’s not great, but he’s part of another system. He has capacity. One day he does photography, the next he does advertisements for Coca-Cola. I would rather die than see my face in a car advertisement.”
8. “I don’t want to end up senile, old, and destroyed by fashion.”