Tuesday 3rd March

| BY Helena Fletcher

Ten’s To Do: Delve Deep Into the World of Alaïa Thanks To ‘Taking Time’, A Book by Monsieur Azzedine and Donatien Grau

The legacy of Azzedine Alaïa is secure. 27 months after the couturier’s death, the French government has granted official foundation status to the Association Azzedine Alaïa. This official foundation status – granted in the public interest – effectively makes it a museum. It holds 22,000 of the designer’s pieces – excluding accessories – and 15,000 couture pieces from Schiaparelli, Charles James, Coco Chanel, Adrian, Madame Grès and others that the designer had collected.

This new museum status means that Alaïa’s extraordinary collection of museum-quality vintage and own label clothes, art furniture and other objects will be protected for future generations. It is the fruition of a plan formed in 2007 when Alaïa began to actively plan for his legacy. He formed the Association that year as a nonprofit, administered by Carla Sozzani, Olivier Saillard (the former director of the Palais Galliera, one of Paris’s two fashion museums), and Mr Alaïa’s life partner, painter Christophe von Weyhe. Mr Alaïa knew exactly how he wanted his legacy to be preserve: a foundation that would safeguard and maintain his extensive collections and make them available to a new generation. Schools and students will be invited to visit and collaborate with the institution; it would fund bursaries and would also stage exhibitions of his work. An emotional von Wehye announced the news in the courtyard of Alaia’s home, boutique and gallery space in the Marais. It was greeted with cheers and jubilation by the small group of close friends of the house gathered there. “It’s the most amazing news, it guarantees the forever status that Azzedine Alaia deserves,” said our very own editor-in-chief Sophia Neophitou. Overnight, France has an important new cultural institution. (Claudia Croft)

Coinciding with the announcement came the launch of a new book at the Association Azzedine Alaïa bookshop in Paris. As well as his fashions, the designer was known for welcoming and hosting his friends at his home and atelier on Rou de Moussy in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. From models, actors, artists and poets, to designers, architects, gallerists, directors and ballet dancers Alaïa’s circle was expansive of generations and culture. An insight into some of the discussions that occurred around Alaïa’s famous kitchen table is given in the newly published book titled Taking Time (or Prendre Le Temps en français). The volume is a curated collection of never-before-published conversations conceived of and moderated by Alaïa and his close friend and collaborator, Musée d’Orsay executive and cultural critic Donatien Grau. Centering around symposium-style conversations on the accelerated pace and commodification of time and its personal significance to the attendees, it is an impeccably curated collection of thoughts and words, becoming Alaïa’s last testament and manifesto.

Within the beautifully crafted volume mimicking Alaïa’s signature laser-cut technique, published by Rizzoli, artist Julian Schnabel and novelist and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière discuss time in relation to film and art. Designers Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson dissect time as the first ergonomic product, whilst actress Isabelle Huppert and director Robert Wilson converse on the importance of time in acting and the theatre. With a foreword written by Naomi Campbell and other contributors including Sozzani, von Weyhe, filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, gallerist Didier Krzentowski, fashion historian Saillard and actress Charlotte Rampling, it’s a read worth making time for. “When you see the people Azzedine has collected in this book, you will understand how expansive his mind was. He had a vision beyond clothing,” writes Campbell. “So many collaborations happened in Papa’s kitchen: people gathering and meeting each other, finding a way to work together. Not forced – it just happened that way. He still is, now more than ever, an inspiration.”

‘Taking Time’ is published simultaneously in English with Rizzoli and in French with Actes Sud.