martes, setiembre 19, 2006

Azzedine Alaïa

So, for some time now (and for some special reason) I kept seeing the name Azzedine Alaia here and there. He is an important designer unkown to many. Something caught my attention and I have been curious since. I first heard of him when I read something that said that Azzedine is the only one who's been able to make some of Madeleine Vionnet's designs (soon I will talk about her, she deserves it). Then I read something about him working with Lycra and the light turned on… I think I found my “true” reference, someone to look up to, be inspired by, etc.

Following is a short text about him…

Azzedine Alaïa

Lacroix is considered the designer that introduced one of the two orientations that dominated fashion during the 80’s – “dress for success”. Azzedine Alaïa (born in 1940 at Tunisia, Tunis) is the master of the second one: “dress to kill”. Evidently this simplification doesn’t do them justice and in relation to Alaïa some time had to elapse until his importance as a fashion designer was recognized. His dresses were too sexy to awaken somebody’s interest in their material and cut technique. All eyes were drawn towards the woman that was enveloped by the attire and that felt, at each step she took, what Alaia’s models offered her. – They hold you tight and show you off – wrote Joan Juliet Buch for Vogue’s US edition. The Lycra stretch material he developed worked as a whole-body corset, giving form to the entire ensemble and, at the same time, allowing freedom of movement. But his true secret lied in his cut line, profoundly researched and admired without limits by experts such as the German designer, Natalie Acatrini: “ This man is genius” she recognized, even when the great majority continued ignoring this tiny Tunisian. His spiral-like stitches configure and lengthen the legs, elevate the buttocks, restrain the waist, and give support to the breasts. (he also hit the spot for me). Alaïa, who originally wanted to be a sculptor, mastered this art by disarming and reconstructing old Madeleine Vionnet and Balenciaga models. He went to Paris when he was 17-years-old and worked some time for Laroche, although he learnt most things on his own. He has worked mostly for private clients, such as Greta Gargo, Arletty and the poet Louise de Vilmorin. In 1991 he presented to the public his first collection. But Alaia doesn’t follow general prêt-à-porter rules of presenting collections twice a year. He only does it after they’re ready. And his clients wait, because his models – which he continues to cut and sew personally according to haute couture rules – transform any woman into a goddess. Is there a better example than Tina Turner who wearing Alaia’s designs belatedly became a world sex symbol?

(In: Fashion – The Century of the Designer – 1900-1999. Charlotte Seeling – © 2000 – Könemann Publishers)

Naomi and Azzedine
picture found here

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