Azzedine Alaïa: Couture AW17
Some men may crumble under the weight of a superlative – not Monsieur Alaïa – he flies on them. So much so we run out of them to describe him – the best, the master – there is little that you cannot say. Tonight, it was an honour to attend his Couture show in Paris, held at his Atelier, marking the first time he’s shown this week for six years. It’s just about all people could talk about today – such is the weight of his influence and respect – not just a designer for us, the people who wear those clothes (as Sophia noted, her wardrobe is 90 percent Alaïa, and it’s really no exaggeration) but he is also a designer’s designer – his designs referenced in a way that the master couturiers are.
Tonight Alaïa did Alaïa. It’s all he knows – and all we want – the incredible way he traces the curves of a woman, the way that his garments are both structured and shaping but still allow for movement. It began with Naomi. Honestly, I can’t even remember what she was wearing (beautiful, obviously) because it was one of those magical moments that takes your breath away. She is his muse and she opened and closed the show, hair strapped up, as with the other models, in black gaffa tape. The collection veered between incredible tailoring, much of it in leather, that pinched the waist and was cinched with a belt.
Other tailoring came in an incredible jacquard, dotted with red flowers, that red running throughout. And all those Alaïa hallmarks are there – the swingy pleated skirts, and then a parade of gowns that traced the model’s figures. Some reached up the model’s necks, others were amplified on the shoulders, like the gown that Naomi closed the show in. Some fell away into pleats. But what united these garments was the way that they will make women feel – that’s the power of Alaïa, and that’s why we keep on coming back for more. Monsieur Alaïa – what else can we say? You’re the master.
Photographs Jason Lloyd-Evans