Not only did he design one of the most talked-about dresses of 2012 — the sheer nude number Kristen Stewart wore for the Los Angeles premiere of the latest “Twilight” movie — but last November, the Lebanese designer was designated a guest member of Paris Couture Week.
The honor marks a turning point for the 41-year-old, who has been showing couture in Paris on the sidelines of the official calendar since 2001. “It was a dream of mine, and now I feel like I am being recognized by my profession,” he told WWD in his spacious new salon, located on the floor above the showroom-store he opened in 2007 on the tony Rue François 1er. His global headquarters, meanwhile, occupy an 11-story building in the Gemmayzeh district of Beirut, home to a flagship boutique and 150 staff. RELATED STORY: Zuhair Murad Spring Couture 2013 >>
Murad, who is the sole owner of the brand, employs a dozen people in Paris, and plans to hire up to eight more in 2013 to keep pace with the label’s rapid expansion.
Known for his Grecian-inspired draping and opulent embroidery, the designer is a favorite of celebrities including Taylor Swift, Blake Lively and Jennifer Lopez, who had him whip up six looks for her last tour. “I love making stage costumes, because with celebrities, you have free rein,” he said. “I’m not a minimalist designer anyway. I love detail. I love meticulous, painstaking workmanship, and I adore lace and embellishment on dresses.”
For this couture collection, Murad sent out an array of gold-embroidered gowns that had red-carpet written all over them. On one, a richly embroidered bodice dissolved into sequined arabesques on a nude silk tulle train. Others were Grecian in spirit, with wafting panels of chalk-colored chiffon or silk tulle, set off with gold or platinum embroidered motifs.
Murad also produces ready-to-wear and recently upgraded his accessories line, with a collection of shoes, handbags and belts made in Italy. The rtw is carried in about 90 points of sale worldwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman in New York; Neiman Marcus; Harrods in London, and Tsum in Moscow.
In the next six months, Murad plans to open standalone boutiques on Qatar’s man-made island, The Pearl, and in Kuwait, with others set to follow in Italy, Turkey, Russia and the U.S. over the following three years. “I hope to develop a full-blown lifestyle brand,” he said. “Design for me is not just about fashion, but also architecture, interior design, furniture, perfume and cosmetics.”
“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