Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Azzedine Alaïa: "Joe's Film"

Alaïa at work, from Joe's Film 

Back in March, stylist Joe McKenna posted a beautiful little documentary, "Joe's Film," about the designer--design artist--Azzedine Alaïa, who passed away last week on November 18 at the age of 77. I saw it mentioned on New York Magazine, watched it in and rewatched it, telling myself I'd make a note to repost it on the blog. The reposting got lost in the midst of everything else, but I am posting it below as a way of remembering Alaïa.

A native of Tunisia and the child of farmers, he had lived in Paris for most of his adult life, and began to make his name after opening his atelier in the late 1970s. After launching his first ready to wear collection in the 1980s, his reputation gained steam, and by the early 1990s he was considered one of the most inventive and distinctive designers of his generation, and had dressed many of the world's most famous and glamorous women, including former US First Lady Michelle Obama, singer and former French First Lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy, supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Veronica Webb and Linda Evangelista, actresses like Zoe Saldana and Charlize Theron, musical artists like Tina Turner, Grace Jones, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, and many others.

One of Alaïa's elaborate skirts,
from Joe's Film
His relationship with the fashion world was complicated, however; at one point, mourning his late sister, he vanished for a while, and then returned to the spotlight in the early 2000s, only to cease regular runways shows over the last decade. He also held fast to his vision of a particular kind of high fashion, forgoing the money-driven branding approach that has become the norm today. As McKenna's film shows, he was designing up till the end, and the beauty of his work had lost nothing to the years.

Enjoy this little gem, and many thanks to Joe McKenna for making and sharing it.

Joe's Film from Julie Walsh on Vimeo.

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