“I refuse to work in a static rhythm. Why should I sacrifice my creativity
to that? That’s not fashion, that’s industrial work.
We can hire people to design all day long and then fabricate
what they design and sell and sell and sell
— but that has nothing to do with fashion, with la mode. And it’s a shame
talents are being abused for this. I really don’t understand that.
I have to live as well. That’s what life is about: living.”
He made fashion on his own terms, in his own time. He refused to fit into the fashion system. He gave himself time, as much as he needed. He worked for years on an idea until it was perfect. He never did anything just to please someone. He didn’t advertise. He rarely gave interviews, and made no public appearances. He was exceptionally discreet in his real life. He was invariably dressed simply, in black. He was trained as a sculptor and his designs are truly a celebration of the female body. He was a master of form. He was born with it. He was relentless in his work. He never stopped creating. Everything he created, he created with his own hands. He made art, but the most extraordinary thing about his clothes was that they were wearable, too. Everything he did was a new classic, a new aesthetic, a new way of dressing for women, said Nicolas Ghesquière. He did fashion for one reason only: to make the woman more beautiful.
Azzedine Alaïa was one of a kind.
He worked deep into the night, often on the soundtrack of old movies. Maybe the fact that Joe McKenna’s 25-minute documentary feature about the designer, released earlier this year, was beautifully shot in black and white was a tribute to both the timelessness of his creations and to his love for classic movies. Watch the film at joesfilm.com.
Thank you for the beauty and legacy you’ve left behind, Azzedine. I hope you are dancing somewhere right now, just as you were at the end of this film, on the music of David Bowie, “Let’s Dance”.
photo: Joe McKenna | Azzedine Alaïa quote – an excerpt from a rare interview he gave The Business of Fashion in 2011