PARIS — “I think visitors will be surprised by the wild designs I came up with as a young man,” said Daniel Tribouillard, Leonard’s president and founder, who, in 1958, transformed what was a dusty textile firm into a flower-powered fashion brand.
Almost half a century later, Tribouillard’s style and odyssey with the company are the subject of a retrospective exhibition at Lyon’s Fabric and Decorative Art Museum, running April 7 through Oct. 8.
On display will be some of Leonard’s defining designs, including silk jersey dresses splashed with the house’s signature hand-printed Coptic and orchid designs from the swinging Sixties, Asian-inspired florals from the disco Seventies and pieces by current house designer, Véronique Leroy.
“In 1969, I left France to conquer the Asian market,” said Tribouillard, recalling the day he was offered Queen Sirikit of Thailand’s personal orchid to be immortalized in a Leonard print, or when, in 1983, he was invited by the Japanese government to study the secrets of kimono making.
This resulted in Leonard’s own kimono collection in 1984, which reworked the ancient craft with a French touch. “I called it the kimono of the future,” he said of the feather-light silk jersey robes he created.
But a clue to Tribouillard’s ultimate source of inspiration can be found in his own wardrobe.
“It was Marquis Emilio Pucci who sparked my passion for print,” said the designer, who noted he met the man he considers his mentor — and main competitor — in 1980. “The first thing he told me was that I was full of talent, but that I dressed badly.”
To fix the problem, the generous Pucci took off his own tailor-made jacket and handed it to Tribouillard to keep. “I still use Pucci’s Roman tailor, Giovanni Moschini, to this day,” quipped Tribouillard. But there are subtle differences between the two. “Pucci spent his life doing geometric prints. I’ve spent mine doing flowers.”
“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