Jewelry designer Arthur Koby has had an unusual career, with several unexpectedtwists. He created accessories for Geoffrey Beene’s runway in the Eighties, and the same pieces appeared on Beene’s runway and that of Oscar de la Renta each season for years (a fact known to de la Renta but not to Beene). Singer Lauryn Hill wore hisI Ching necklace, with its four coins, on the cover of Time magazine in February 1999. Gloria Vanderbilt owns one of his pieces. And now Kent State University has given him a retrospective, which will open today, called, “Arthur Koby: The Creative Eye,” which features 50 of his works. Thirty came from one of his top collectors, 12 from another and the others from a variety of sources.
Koby, who was born in Brooklyn and studied architecture at Cooper Union, spent 10 years as an architect working for a small firm. As a sideline, he opened a gift shop. Jewelry was among the items sold there, but its profit margin wasn’t very good, so Koby decided to start designing and making it himself.
“It started out as a complete fluke,” he recalls. It was the hippie period, so he created some necklaces out of African trade beads, and they sold. Beene saw them and “freaked out over my work,” Koby says. “I met up with him, and he gave me three weeks to create a collection. I just scoured the market for components, and I did it.” Beene talked up his creations to everyone he met, and soon his line was in stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue. “It was overwhelming,” Koby says. The designer uses lacquered wood, crystals, scallop shells, resin, stone beads, drawer hinges, buffalo horn and other materials. He says he buys as many milagros — the representation of a hand or leg that is put on an altar in Mexico to heal an illness— as he can. He saw an elaborate chandelier in a shop, and immediately started breaking it down into components in his mind. Since he is self-taught, he has created most of his own techniques, and prides himself on the fact that his big, flamboyant necklaces are never heavy. “I’ve never had a complaint,” he says.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast