Je Suis Couturier: Homage to Azzedine Alaia

“I love (clothes), uncomplicated by details, ornamentation or color that remain beautiful and are timeless,” the late Azzedine Alaia once declared. “I love those clothes which are simple but yet, the most difficult to make.” That signature look of the late designer,  is the subject of an exhibition entirely devoted to the greatest Tunisian fashion designer of our times.

Me and the girls are in Paris right now where we are taking in beautiful weather, nice walks along the Seine (river), great food and wine and, of course, all the cultural fashion events Paris has to offer. Our first stop---“Je Suis Couturier,” a small but powerful glance at the career of this five foot tall, giant man. Situated on the premises of what was once his atelier/boutique in the center of the city are 40 or so dresses and gowns prestinely displayed—ranging from his iconic looks from the 1980's: leather skirts that wrap sensually around the body and hooded, jersey sheaths to the softness of more recent dresses made of tulle and tiny ruffles.

Everything is in black or white mounted on "invisible" dress forms so as not to disturb the beauty of the dresses. We stood there and simply drank in the sight of Alaia's brilliance.

Azzedine Alaia arrived in France from his homeland of Tunisia in the mid-1950’s to study  at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts, a left bank fine arts institution in Paris.

After brief stints at Dior and Guy Laroche, Alaia worked as a dressmaker to pay his rent. It is rumored that he also worked for Thierry Mugler, creating the hourglass silhouettes for the avant garde designer's early collection.

By the 1970’s Azzedine began making friends in high places, socialites who adored his work and told their friends. Instead of radically changing the look of his clothes from season to season, he worked hard to perfect what he believed was the perfect dress, the perfect silhouette—everything carved out of black or white materials—jersey and leather being his favorite.

By the 1980’s his roster of private clients became pretty impressive. Celebrities, Tina Turner, Naomi Campbell, Grace Jones bought and wore so many of this clothes, they literally became walking billboards of his work.

Last November (2017), Alaia passed away suddenly of a heart attack. According to reports, there was a wealth of archives of both his work and the works of other iconic designers he followed throughout the years…enough to mount a small museum of his own.

Though the current exhibition will close on June 10, his former collaborators, who have formed an Azzedine Alaia Foundation, plan to formerly transform the premises into a museum and have promised many more exhibitions for the future.

Je Suis Couturier
Azzedizine Alaia Association
18, rue e la Verriere
75004 Paris

My girls tell me they are planning something for some "little" wedding next week....... Stay tuned!!!!!

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