If there was one invitation to truly score during Couture week, it was Azzedine Alaia's rare runway show earlier today that was presented to an intimate "chosen" crowd at his Marais studio. One would have thought last night's Love Ball to benefit the Naked Heart Foundation at Valentino chateau an hour out of Paris would be the highlight of my trip, but "non". Alaia made my heart skip a beat more than taking my seat among a slew of Russian billionaires, fashionistas, and international society darlings under a clear tent and MCd by Anne Hathaway.
Alaia showed 41 creations to an audience including Sofia Coppola, Eugenie Niarchos, Donatella Versace, and legendary model Bettina. No one from Vogue graced the front row or attended the show, for that matter. (Not surprisingly since Alaia's recent criticism of Anna Wintour's lack of support through any editorial placement in her magazine). As a matter of fact, no fashion photographers were snapping shots of the influential crowd or were placed at the end of the runway to shoot every detail of the collection. Only two video cameras captured the moment.
From Karlie Kloss's first exit in natural make up and a peplum skirt, look after look proved why Azzedine Alaia is a rare example of a designer who doesn't need to reinvent the wheel every season, but just make it more and more perfect. Alaia showed several zip front fitted cardigans in lieu of jackets and a rich color story of olive, jade, and merlot. Mock patent croc was used in gillets and fetish trench coats. Mongolian lamb outerwear looked so sleek with signature corset belts making a wasp waisted silhouette. Mongolian lamb even turned up on trim of an eggplant mini.
Since Alaia is the master of knits he waffle weaved a long sleeve dress in the lightest shade of lilac wool. As for evening wear, everything from velvet halter gowns with sheer panel sides reminding me of Geoffrey Beene's architectural masterpieces of the 90s to a maxi gown with rose gold straps and the finale gown with a racer back that showed off Karlie Kloss's stunning carriage are sure to be on the wish list of every celebrity. However, Alaia doesn't play the red carpet celebrity dressing game as his loyal clientele passionately buys piece after piece, season after season.
As models paraded down the runway to Beyonce's "Girls Who Run the World", thunderous applause continued for several minutes until the painfully shy Azzedine Alaia emerged to a standing ovation. I'm glad I scored the golden ticket.