“Some Thoughts From” – a series of aggregations of the thoughts of some of the industry’s most notable designers, editors, models and other industry insiders – is back. Up this week: Azzedine Alaïa – the fashion design genius who plays by no one’s rules but his own. "He's not part of the system," Alaïa's friend – and former Lanvin creative director – Alber Elbaz explains. "He's created a system of his own."
As noted by the New York Times’ Alexander Fury, Tunisia-born, Paris-based Alaïa “creates garments that eschew the relentless novelty of contemporary fashion, instead offering gradual developments of idea and technique. But women clamour, season after season, to buy them. In Harrod's, Alaïa outperforms all other international brands. He doesn't advertise, and doesn't loan to celebrities – although they buy his clothes.”
Here, Mr. Alaïa takes on the fashion system, Anna Wintour, the future of his brand, and more …
On the modern day fashion system: "It's not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach. But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It's unsustainable. There are too many collections … It's almost inhumane, the amount of work today. Very few can handle it. It's a life that's too accelerated." – WWD, 2016.
On freedom: “I always feel free – I feel really free. When I don't want something, I don't make it. Even if there's finance behind it, if I don't feel it, I don't do it. I always feel free, this is my strength. Truly, I don't need much to live.” – The Independent, 2015.
On Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour: “She runs the business [Vogue] very well, but not the fashion part. When I see how she is dressed, I don’t believe in her tastes one second. I can say it loudly! She hasn’t photographed my work in years even if I am a best seller in the U.S. and I have 140 square meters at Barneys. American women love me; I don’t need her support at all.
Anna Wintour doesn’t deal with pictures; she is just doing PR and business, and she scares everybody. But when she sees me, she is the scared one. Other people think like me, but don’t say it because they are afraid that vogue won’t photograph them. Anyway, who will remember Anna Wintour in the history of fashion? No one. Take Diana Vreeland, she is remembered because she was so chic. What she did with the magazine was great, with Avedon and all the great photographers.” – Virgine Magazine, 2011.
On the future of his brand: “All can continue without me. It must continue. One day, you say, ‘That’s it’ for yourself. But not for the house. You simply have to find the right replacement.” – New York Times, 2013.
* This article was initially published in July 2016.