Sunday, August 1, 2010

Azzedine Alaia and Then

Then ... Rue de Belle Chasses, upstairs, hordes of fashion people and photographers. Azzedine in black, his black, not the savage beauty of the black of Japanese designers sweeping fashion, changing the very ethos of black. Two small dogs, yipping in the way that small dogs must because everything is smaller, even their sound. Janice Dickenson in leather weaving her way through, eyes half shut, something primal and sexual in her walk: others might have left a perfumed trace mixed with cigarette smoke. No appointment just a taxi ride that ended the possibility of lunch that day. Another store owner from our town was writing an order and that couldn't be. I walked to a rail of Azzedine's samples, my Issey Miyake coat dropped to the floor and almost forgotten as I slipped into a black coat nipped at the waist and a little flared. Maybe there is a syndrome that makes all the extreme language of fashion unnecessary, no more "to die for" or even the breathless "I die." Stendahl's syndrome is only about art, I think: that impossible to describe flush and thudding heartbeats, sometimes weeping at the sheer perfection of beauty, sometimes fainting. That other store, the one writing at the table and confident that this collection was theirs, ignored us as Charles stalked Azzedine for just a moment, sweeping Mirabelle (formerly at Mugler) into a conversation about the impossibility of our not having his collection. Impossibility ...

It's unbelievable to think back to Then and realize that it could all have been different. Some things are meant to be. The following year we opened an Alaia boutique on Rodeo in the space that had been Donald Pliner's Right Bank.


  1. What a story! I love to hear about your encounters... gives me goose bumps. Alaia! How lucky. I still have a picture of him in my "designer files" wearing this waist apparatus equipped with pouches for his pooches. He is so small that the two teeny weeny dogs hanging off him look like they could tip him over!

  2. The pooches ... well, Azzedine was in New York for Bergdorf's and then there was a problem. Bergdorf's didn't have water bowls for his beloved doggies and he did pull out and yank the collection.

    On another visit to Alaia we were warned to have good thoughts; just saying.


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