NEW YORK — Behnaz Sarafpour hopes to take the growing awareness of the environment to a new level — luxury.
Where once eco-clothes had as much appeal as a burlap sack, they have become more popular in the contemporary category. Beginning with her spring show this Friday, Sarafpour is hoping to promote the trend at the designer level as well. To that end, she will present a capsule group made entirely with the environment in mind.
"I love fashion and never thought of it as a banal thing to do," Sarafpour said in the calm environs of her Chelsea atelier here. "But I think it's important to find something that goes beyond just making beautiful clothes."
So Sarafpour, who has never been one to use fashion to make political statements, started researching fabrics and dyes around the world that wouldn't damage the environment and add to its pollution. But she deliberately shied away from the granola cachet the movement still carries in many fashion circles. "I wanted to look at it from the point of view of a designer who does a luxury product," she added.
For the capsule line, Sarafpour started with organic fabrics she sourced from around the world, as well as biodegradable dyes. For instance, she used an organic waffle-weave cotton from Japan for a coat, then had it dyed in New York with Osage sawdust, which was a method used by Native Americans. The coat was embellished with natural malachite stones. Sarafpour also made a raw organic white waffle cotton jacket and dyed it using cochineal insects from South Africa, and a cotton dress dyed with product from a cutch plant extract from India. The tree sap gum used to bind the dyes comes from the south of Iran, Sarafpour's native country.
The designer said she would like to keep developing the concept for future collections, and while prices were still being determined, it was clear to her that these limited edition pieces would be far costlier than the rest of her line. "Having this type of organic luxury is really something exclusive, and much more difficult to obtain than man-made artificial product," Sarafpour explained. "In most cases, people do them to keep the traditions of their regions. In that sense, it becomes the ultimate luxury product."And she has taken her interest in the environment beyond just clothes. This season, Sarafpour didn't send out printed invitations, but instead e-mailed them. Her intention was to reduce paper waste, and the designer has chosen to donate the money saved to The Nature Conservancy.
"It's a step in the right direction and every step matters," she said.
“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