Azzedine Alaïa is not exactly the most talkative designer. He’s not secretive, like Martin Margiela, but he’s also not one to court celebrity. His notoriety is based almost entirely on his work—quite a feat in an industry where posturing actually gets you somewhere, and in an age where self-promotion is half the job. In a way, to really understand his importance is not to know the man himself, but to understand his impact.
In a new documentary about the designer, stylist Joe McKenna highlights just that, tapping some of fashion’s most respected names to reflect on what Alaïa means to them, or their interpretations of what he means to fashion. Top editors such as Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Sophie Hicks, and Grace Coddington, as well as fashion critics Cathy Horyn, Suzy Menkes, and Vanessa Friedman all discuss the first time they encountered his work.
“It was like another echelon of fashion—if you could reach that echelon to go to an Azzedine Alaïa show,” Horyn says in the film. “That’s how I saw it…It was something that you almost had to know about by word of mouth. Like, the word was put out that Azzedine was going to show, and everybody went.”