PARIS — Add Azzedine Alaïa’s voice to the argument that fashion’s breakneck pace of collections must be halted.
“It’s inhumane,” Alaïa said Tuesday at his headquarters in the Marais here, where he invited a handful of editors to a showroom presentation of his fall collection, almost a week after Paris Fashion Week drew to a close.
Indeed, asked about shamed couturier John Galliano — ousted from Dior amidst widening allegations of drunken racist and anti-Semitic outbursts — Alaïa suggested the crushing workload must surely have been a factor in the designer’s downfall.
“It’s sad. He’s a friend,” a rueful Alaïa said. “It’s too much: too many collections; too much pressure.”
Alaïa lamented that the pace of fashion is also too onerous for journalists, who are overwhelmed by an onslaught of seasons and collections, leaving them no time to absorb what they have seen, let alone see enough of their families.
Alaïa declined to hazard a guess who Dior might tap to succeed Galliano, who headed the brand’s creative rejuvenation and devoted 15 years to the house.
“There are some people who are irreplaceable,” he said.
Meanwhile, Alaïa continues to work at his own pace and on his own terms, choosing to show almost exclusively knitwear at Tuesday’s presentation: short fit-and-flare dresses, sinuous gowns and small, cardiganlike jackets. (The only exceptions were a few ultrafeminine trenchcoats in printed ponyskin.)
He noted he’s mulling showing his more intricate pieces — including styles in leather and fur — during couture week here.
Preferring a hands-on approach to the business, Alaïa was slated to travel to Italy later this week to check on his production facility: Maglificio Miles, which has been knitting up his technical marvels for more than two decades.
For fall, Alaïa enlivened his signature shapes with an array of textures and prints, from simple raised dots to bold zebra stripes or animal spots. Zigzag edges around necklines and shoulder straps gave his sleek, figure-hugging dresses extra teeth.
Other graphic details included face-framing collars on zip-front styles and dense micro pleats swishing on skater styles.
Cascading frills edged minidresses or encircled long gowns, giving them flamenco airs.
Alaïa declined to give sales figures, deferring questions about the vitality of business to his key wholesale partners, such as Barneys New York in America and Dover Street Market in London.
Daniella Vitale, Barneys New York chief merchant and executive vice president, said, ““The business has always been a stalwart of Barneys but it has seen tremendous growth, in all categories, with the newly articulated space. There is no one like M. Alaia and our client is enamored by his dedication, creativity and inspiration.”
Alaïa did cite an influx of Russian clients and disclosed plans to open a second Paris boutique, in addition to the one on Rue de Moussy attached to his sprawling complex of buildings, which includes a three-room hotel and home to a future five-story Alaïa foundation.
The designer also continues to use his airy atrium for exhibitions. Coming soon is a showcase for young photographers from ECAL, the famous university of art and design in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion