PARIS — You know you’re in a room full of fashion professionals when a ribbon, mistakenly pinned on the wrong lapel, is greeted like an accessorizing “don’t” — with a chorus of protest.
That’s what happened when Didier Grumbach, head of France’s Chambre Syndicale, decorated Chloé president Ralph Toledano as a chevalier of the Legion of Honor Tuesday night before an audience that included chief executives from Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel, Richemont and such designers as Alber Elbaz and Martine Sitbon.
No matter. Grumbach corrected his faux pas with a blush and a quick restyling, which was followed by a heartfelt speech by Toledano. “Our industry is simply fabulous,” he said before an industry crowd of about 80 gathered for the presentation. “I have a real passion for it, and I am grateful and privileged to have worked with so many extraordinary and creative people.”
Chairman and chief executive at Chloé since 1999, Toledano has worked with Stella McCartney — “it was a bit wild,” he quipped about the period —and now Phoebe Philo, McCartney’s former design assistant. Before that, Toledano worked at Guy Laroche, where he discovered Alber Elbaz, and ran Karl Lagerfeld’s fashion house for 10 years. Born in Casablanca, Morocco, 52 years ago, Toledano started his career at Lanvin and also worked at Yves Saint Laurent accessories.
At a cocktail party before the ceremony, many approached Dior president Sidney Toledano to solve a long-simmering industry mystery: Are they related? No, but they attended grade school together and, thanks to their same last names, were typically seated next to one another. A friendship bloomed and, though they’ve never worked together at the same firm, “it’s almost a family relationship,” Dior’s Toledano said, beaming proudly.
Elbaz was also talking relationships, praising Chloé’s Toledano for finding him at Geoffrey Beene, where he had been an assistant for seven years, and bringing him to Paris to design Laroche.
“He was the one to give me the first chance and to introduce me to the broader fashion world,” Elbaz said. “I always say the relationship between a designer and the president of a fashion house is like being a husband and wife.“And I must say,” he added with a laugh, “Ralph was a wonderful husband.”
“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