Whether you know Azzedine Alaa from his impeccable designs hanging on the racks at Barneys, his famous reference in Clueless, his refusal of the Dior job to replace John Galliano or his recent Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld bashing to the press, one thing is for certain: he’s one of the most talented and timeless fashion designers of his generation.
The Business of Fashion got the rare privilege to chat with Alaa, and he airs his grievances about the very industry that has made him a superstar. Although he sounds like a loose cannon at times, no one can say that he doesn’t keep it real! Read on for five telling quotes from the designer, and check out the full interview at BoF.
The fashion calendar isn’t only inhumane, it drains creativity and prevents forward thinking. “We cant just squeeze the young talents out like lemons and then throw them away. Four collections for women, four collections for men, another four collections to sell, and everything needs do be done within four-five months its a one-way course towards emptiness. Its inhuman.”
…it’s also potentially dangerous. “Its stupid to ask someone to create eight collections per season. Look what has happened to John Galliano or this poor young guy from Balmain, who is now in a psychiatric hospital. After five or six seasons, he was already broken. Or last year, McQueen dead. And there are many more that are just so tired. There is a pressure that is mad.”
Fashion shows are so 100 years ago. “Young people want change in this industry, too, yet we continue, just like in the 19th century, to do dfils. There is no need no interest, really. We could do fewer collections and obtain the same results. We dont lose any money if we do less.”
He loves the ladies. “There is just one good reason to do fashion: to make the woman look more beautiful. If that is not the case, it has no meaning for me to create.”
He won’t sell his soul for a little extra success. “I have been offered the highest paid contracts in the world. I refused them all. Its not my thing. I dont want to cheat people. And there are certain people I am allergic to. I even intervene when I dont like a customer; I rush in and check all the names. If I dont like them, I dont take them.”
Photo via Sipa