With Respect. Alaïa SS19

The sudden death of Azzedine Alaïa, the master couturier who understood a woman’s body like no one else, hasn’t only deprived the fashion world of an ultimate genius, but as well left his brand in an uncertain position. The spring-summer 2019 look-book that was released last week, however, assures that Alaïa – as a fashion house – isn’t going the wrong path and won’t end its existence as many French houses did after their founders passed away (waiting for years to be bought by a bored millionaire). The Maison Alaïa studio team proves to be loyal to the brand’s codes, and what’s more, isn’t lead by an outside creative director. All the people who work on today’s Alaïa collections were trained by Azzedine himself. Many pieces from the new collection aren’t that new. The offering comprises separate collections, éditions, that consist of archive pieces that have been perfectly replicated as new ready-to-wear and labeled according to original dates. A denim jacket from 1986. The striped dress is from 1990. Another gown saw its runway debut back in 1984. Cotton shirtdresses and woven raffia details were mastered in Azzedine’s last collections to perfection, and they reappear here too, just like python leather garments. The soul of Alaïa is there, in each cut and stitch. The effect is more than beautiful, and you really wish of seeing these clothes in real life. It’s a tribute collection, but not in a Versace spring-summer 2018 way. The studio is expected to rework Alaïa’s original designs in future collections, supplying the stores with the brand’s all-time classics.

Still, there are few new additions that smell with forced commerce: espadrilles made in  collaboration with Castañer (ok, that must be heaven comfort) and a capsule collection of dresses, t-shirts and accessories emblazoned with the words Mon cœur est à papa, the expression of love attributed to Naomi Campbell, who considered the Alaïa her father figure. This isn’t presented in the new season look-book (shot by Karim Sadli and styled by long-time friend of the house, Joe McKenna), but, well, it’s a necessity that just has to be accepted. By the way, for the nay-sayers, Alaïa himself did a capsule collection of logo t-shirts in collaboration with Comme des Garçons back in the 90s (very treasured vintage). No one will return Azzedine. But it’s a great relief that his heritage is in good hands and his fashion continues to be praised with so much grace and respect.

 

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.

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