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 Azzedine Alaïa, Fashion’s Most Independent Designer, Is Dead 
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Post Azzedine Alaïa, Fashion’s Most Independent Designer, Is Dead
Azzedine Alaïa, Fashion’s Most Independent Designer, Is Dead at 82

Azzedine Alaïa, one of the greatest and most uncompromising designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, died on Saturday in Paris. He was 82.His company said the cause was a heart attack.Known as a sculptor of the female form, and worn by women from Michelle Obama to Lady Gaga, Mr. Alaïa was equally famous for his rejection of the fashion system and his belief that it had corrupted the creative power of what could be an art form.He rarely hewed to the official show calendar, preferring to reveal his work when he deemed it ready, as opposed to when retailers or the press demanded it.Instead he built his own system, and family of collaborators and supporters, and since the turn of the millennium had become an increasingly important voice for the value of striving to perfect and explore a single proprietary aesthetic, and against giving in to the relentless pressure to produce collections.“I dressed women directly on their body, by intuition. This is how I gained experience,” he once said.Continue reading the main storyRELATED COVERAGE


His kitchen, where he was famous for holding free-flowing lunch and dinner gatherings, for which he often cooked, was his soapbox. There he would regale guests — who could include designers, Kardashians, the artist Julian Schnabel, the architect Peter Marino and seamstresses from his ateliers — long into the night with opinions, stories and exhortations.He “changed my conception of fashion,” said Nicolas Ghesquière, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton, in a documentary on Mr. Alaïa made by the stylist Joe McKenna and released this year. “I thought fashion was about embellishment as a kid, and when I saw Azzedine’s work I understood fashion was about construction and architecture too. To have an amazing idea and the capacity to realize it yourself is the definitive act of a designer.”Diminutive in stature — at least compared to supermodels like Naomi Campbell, who called him “Papa,” as he was a guardian of sorts for her in Paris at the beginning of her career, and Farida Khelfa — he was always attired in a uniform of black Chinese cotton pajamas. He was famous for working long hours alone, bent over patterns and pieces of fabric, with National Geographic programs playing on the wide-screen TV nearby next to a pillar collaged with photos of friends and their families.

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Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:07 am
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