PARIS — Bernard Perris, the French designer known for producing ready-to-wear with a couture flourish, has died of cancer at the age of 73.
Perris had retired from fashion since leaving his post as artistic director of Jean-Louis Scherrer in 1997, devoting himself to the upkeep of the spectacular garden at his property in Eygalières in the Provence region of France.
Growing up, Perris was strongly influenced by his mother Emma, an impeccably groomed figure who owned a clothing boutique in his native Millau. His elegant style, honed by stints at Guy Laroche, Jacques Heim and Christian Dior, was popular with celebrities including Faye Dunaway, Joan Collins and Diana Ross, but his most stalwart supporter was Baroness Inès Reille, who was his muse and unofficial brand ambassador for 25 years.
“I was the kind of woman he liked: pulled-back hair, very thin with a long neck,” Reille said. “He became a very close friend and someone I appreciated immensely, because he was always very thoughtful and kind. That’s why he had a lot of friends, because he was very genuine. In that sense, he stood out a little in the world of fashion.”
Nicole Fischelis, group vice president and fashion director at Macy’s Inc., worked for Saks Fifth Avenue at the time. She recalled Perris as a jovial, cultivated man with a knack for tailoring and a strong feel for fabrics.
“We used to do a lot of trunk shows with him. He had a very elegant clientele,” she said. “His clients were often his friends, so he had a very good sense of their lifestyle and their needs.”
Maryline Bellieud Vigouroux, president of the Institut Mode Méditerranée, staged an exhibition at the Museum of Fashion in Marseille in 2001 featuring some 60 outfits designed by Perris and donated by Reille. “His style was like an illustration by [René] Gruau,” she said. “It was all about bold strokes and a very strict silhouette.”
Perris launched his label in 1969 with his longtime life and business partner Jean Lacourrège. At the height of its commercial success, the brand had 25 stores — including a unit on Madison Avenue in New York — and was available in 1,250 points of sale worldwide.
Perris left the house he founded in 1994, when the brand name was sold to Japanese group Coronet.
A ceremony is scheduled to be held for family and close friends in Eygalières on Sept. 4. Perris is survived by his mother and brother.
“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