L’Association Azzedine Alaïa

The breast sculpture by César, Alaïa’s long-time friend.

L’Association Azzedine Alaïa is all things close to Monsieur Azzedine Alaïa and his two, closest people – Christoph Von Weyhe and Carla Sozzani. La Librairie, the maison’s bookstore within the late couturier’s house on rue de la Verrerie, opened its doors back in November. A café is also located in this silent, chic spot, which used to house a small boutique run by Alaïa’s twin sister Hafida. And in the same hidden square of Le Marais, there’s the gallery that celebrates Azzedine’s creations and visions with temporary exhibitions curated by Olivier Saillard. Until 23rd of June, you can see the brilliant Adrian and Alaïa. The Art of Tailoring curation, which is a pararrel exhibition presenting a dialogue between Azzedine and Gilbert Adrian, the Old Hollywood-era designer held in great esteem by Alaïa. The exhibition highlights the subtle transmission of elegance and style that can happen between two great couturiers even when separated by decades and continents as they both focus on executing the same garments – the construction of the jacket. Seen here through exploration of fabric and form, one can follow the unspoken heritage moving from a master’s eye to the hand of another master as only the best talents can do. Preseted in a pairing of a number of suits over the course of their respective careers, two couturiers share their imaginary conversation in an industrial, former warehouse space. Azzedine collected Adrian’s tailoring that used to be worn by the likes of Katherine Hepburn, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford back in the 1940s and 1950s, and studied them with passion. Sharing many sympathies with Adrian in the execution of design, and a shared obsession for perfection, Alaïa would spend nights around the same black jacket. Trained as a sculptor, he became the master of cut and fit. With Mr. Adrian’s contribution.

18 rue de la Verrerie / Paris

Photos by Edward Kanarecki and from the exhibition’s release.

7 Rue de Moussy

Le Marais’ 7 rue de Moussy is the address that gives me those good goosebumps. It’s Azzedine Alaïa’s flagship store, which is also the brand’s headquarters (and as well used to be Alaïa‘s home and studio, just above the spacious boutique). I love this place so much and I will never forget seeing the man himself here few years ago, taking a run through the racks and disappearing behind the doors of his atelier. His spirit is all over the place. This didn’t change at all throughout the time. And what’s most important, the soul of Azzedine is preserved by the maison, and thankfully not “rebranded”. There’s the untouched Julian Schnabel artwork leaning against the wall. The fitting room, where I imagine Naomi Campbell tries on her dresses. All the design treasures Azzedine hand-picked himself for the space. For me, it’s one of the most sentimental places in Paris. A post on Association Azzedine Alaïa and its foundation is coming up!

7 rue de Moussy / Paris

True To Azzedine. Alaïa AW19

Thanks god the maison of Alaïa has no plans to find an outside designer or change anything about the brand. The spirit of Azzedine Alaïa is in every single piece from the autumn-winter 2019 lookbook. Like the previous season, the offering encompasses three ranges: a collection of new pieces that feel close to the master’s vision and aesthetic, the Édition archive capsule (this season it’s all about the butterfly print from autumn-winter 1991 collection), and Éditions Limitées, which is positioned as demi-couture and available only by appointment. Karim Sadli is behind the camera, while the styling is Joe McKenna’s job (two individuals, who worked with Azzedine on his collections’ image). From impeccable tailoring to gorgeous, gorgeus eveningwear, the collection is consistent and completely true to the founder’s vocabulary. Those who know what’s an Alaïa dress like will definitely stay with the brand – forever.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.