DALLAS — Avant, after a 28-year run as one of the leading contemporary stores in Dallas, will close in December.
Owner Donna Chalker said her lease is up and the store's location on lower Greenville Avenue is to be bulldozed to make way for a bank. Although Avant did almost $1 million in sales for the fiscal year ended in June, an 8 percent increase compared with the previous year, Chalker said competition in the contemporary sector is fierce.
"It's an incredible explosion of stores and everybody wants the same look and same labels," Chalker said. "You have your ups and downs in retail, but even if he wasn't bulldozing my building, my lease was up and I would have wanted to take a break anyway."
She added, "I've been doing this for 28 years, and I need to take a good vacation. I might open another store in two years."
Chalker said she may consider Firewheel Town Center, a large mixed-use lifestyle plaza opening this month in Garland, Tex., a few miles from her home in Sachse. She's also weighing options for a building she bought last month in Dallas' Design District, including creating a wholesale showroom with an immediately available inventory of "cool clothing" and a photography studio for her husband, Steve.
Avant, located in a nondescript pink building with iron bars on the windows, built a reputation for sexy sportswear and fashion-forward evening dresses. Chalker takes credit for introducing several key designers to the city, including Betsey Johnson, Leon Max, Vivienne Tam under her former East Wind Code label and Sue Wong under the Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit label.
More than a dozen independent retailers focusing on contemporary clothing opened in the last four years within a few miles of Avant, including Octane, Premium 93, Off the Shoulder, Krimson & Klover, Source Paris, Cretia's on McKinney, Movida and Angie Amadi.
“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