DALLAS -- The debut of the $6 million Museum of African-American Life and Culture in Fair Park here proved that dreams can come true.
The stellar soiree last fall that marked the opening of the museum was the culmination of 15 years of planning, and the dramatic setting was light years from its one-room beginning at Bishop College in South Oak Cliff, a Dallas suburb.
About 1,000 celebrants, including poet Maya Angelou, donned black-tie or ethnic attire for the party, which was chaired by Matilda Robinson.
A small ragtime band kept the beat buoyant as guests checked out the space, which sits adjacent to the Fair Park Music Hall.
From the soaring, domed ceilings of Southern yellow pine to the clay-tiled floors to the expansive arched windows, the museum was designed to harmonize with nature, according to architect Arthur Rogers.
Art from Africa as well as the Southwest, artifacts such as a 15th-century Ethiopian leather bible and some African textiles are on view along with temporary exhibits. The museum also houses a book and gift store.
Like many guests, Phyllis Wilson opted to wear ethnic attire -- a gold silk taffeta robe and matching headscarf. "I bought it at a small shop in Dallas, but it reflects Zimbabwean culture," said Wilson.
Others jazzed up their black-tie looks with ethnic accents, from African-print bow ties to colorful jewelry.
"It's finally a reality," said Michelle Smith. "We've worked towards this for a long time. I came by here a few months ago when it was just sheetrock and frame. Now it's all beautiful and finished."
Following the cocktail party, guests adjourned to a tent next to the museum for dinner. The following day, Texas Governor Ann Richards and a host of other dignitaries christened the museum, which is open to the public free of charge.
“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