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Fashion Statement: Azzedine Alaïa

“When I see beautiful clothes, I want to keep them, preserve them… Clothes, like architecture and art, reflect an era.” —Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa. To read more fabulous Fashion Statements, click here. To read about Alaïa’s first New York fashion show, read the Story Behind the Style. Read More »

Goodbye, Hippies, and Hellooo, Hips. Alaïa Ushers in the Fall 1982 Season


Azzedine Alaïa had been zipping, stuffing, and encasing curvacious glamazons into his second-skin dresses in defiance of women’s lib for 15 years before he staged his first New York City fashion show on this day in 1982. It was the unofficial kickoff of the season: The evening of new fall fashion began with the opening of an Irving Penn photography exhibit at the Marlborough Gallery (a collection of pictures themed around skulls, bones and dust that the late legendary fashion photographer said “don’t have deep significance”) and was followed by Alaïa’s show at Bergdorf Goodman, where the line stretched around the block to catch a glimpse of the designs from a diminutive,
five-foot-one Tunisian man who was to play no small part in ushering in the structural, sex-is-power look of the ’80s. And fittingly (no pun intended), the second floor of the department store had been transformed into a giant tent made of spandex.

“Fashionable, party-going New Yorkers seem to have finally forsaken their mid-calf culottes and prairie skirts in favor of a new interpretation of the high-heeled attitude of another era,” the New York Times reported. “In fact, they seem to have collectively put on their Read More »

Cinemode: Clueless

If there was any single look that defined the style-deficient years of the early 1990s it was grunge. The loser-rocker look—flannel shirt, ripped jeans and Converse sneakers—were indie staples long before Nirvana broke through in 1992, and suddenly it seemed like everyone under 30 was dressing to audition for the next unheard-of rock band. Slovenliness was the just-right look for students already hit hard by a recession. It mirrored the skepticism and angry, don’t-care attitude felt on college and high school campuses—and everywhere, or so it seemed at the time—across America. A disheveled look became the norm and longtime sartorial (and societal) no-no’s, such as wearing pajamas in the classroom and T-shirts and jeans in the workplace became acceptable, as outrageous as that was for many. It was in this no-fashion landscape that Clueless, a hyper colorful and optimistic film whose heroine lectured on the merits of style, shopping and “totally important” fashion designers, was released on this day in 1995.

Director Amy Heckerling specifically set out to make a happy film, one that poked fun at the in-crowd but also offered solutions and redemption. She based her story about Read More »

Your Stylescope for June 7


Find out who in the fashion world shares a birthday with you and learn your destiny for the year. Guaranteed.

BORN ON THIS DAY:

Azzedine Alaïa, Tunisian couturier; 1940

Happy Birthday, June 7! I know that you’ve always loved on your own schedule. Oh sure, your body might show up at the appointed time, but your mind is still at home, flossing. You share a lot with Azzedine Alaïa, who is famous for being on his own schedule. If an Alaïa design isn’t finished, it’s not finished. Well, I know this advice might go against your internal clock, but this year try adhering to somebody else’s schedule. This might mean “showing up” in spirit when showing up in reality, or becoming “the birthday person” at work. I know, it doesn’t necessarily sound like fun, but it’s going to be a valuable. Kind of like driving a friend to the airport at 5 a.m. in a snowstorm in a car with bald tires, the experience will be better when you’re finished. And, don’t worry, I promise that you can go back to your own schedule next year. Just realize that schedule might be a little more full because of the work you’re putting in this year.

Did we miss anyone in fashion born on this day? Drop us a line and let us know.

He Brought Sexy Back

Sweet Justin Timberlake. He holds a soft spot in our hearts for being truly multi-talented and (seemingly) an all-around nice guy. That’s why it hurts to rain on his adorable parade, but someone’s got to tell him: He wasn’t the one who brought sexy back. That honor goes to a 5-foot-1 Tunisian man born on this day: June 7 in, well, the closest we can find is “circa 1940.”

We know that Azzedine Alaïa was born to a working class family in Tunisia. In some interviews he has said his father was a wheat farmer; in another, a policeman. What is certain is that he wasn’t spending his days out running around on the soccer field. It’s more likely you’d find him under a tree flipping through the pages of Vogue, or arranging photos of foreign women the salvaged from the local passport office’s floor. He didn’t even have a high school Read More »

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