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Azzedine Alaïa didine dog fashion
Azzedine Alaïa with Didine

Fashion greats discuss what makes Alaïa such a legend

Stylist Joe McKenna has directed a new doc taking an inside look at the famous figure – with cameos from Naomi, Grace Coddington and more

When Clueless’s Cher Horowitz cries, “But this is an Alaïa!” in protest to ruining an Azzedine Alaïa dress despite having a gun aimed at her head, the moment was embedded into pop culture history. The designer himself has always existed slightly outside this kind of mainstream exposure, though, despite a five-decade strong career quietly revolutionising women’s fashion. Instead, he prefers to create his art in the company of a loyal inner circle, instead of surrounded by the circus and pressures of the fashion industry. In a new film, stylist Joe McKenna gives us a rare glimpse into the usually private world of one of the most influential designers living now. 

Shot over a number of years, the film brings together hard-to-find archive footage of the designer’s early shows and the inside of his atelier with interviews from the likes of Naomi Campbell, Grace Coddington and current head of Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière. All testify to Alaïa’s ability to create “new classics” through the innovation and meticulous construction of his designs, but what’s most rewarding in these accounts are their personal memories of a man as intense about his work as the people he surrounds himself with. 

‘Papa’ to the Supers even before Gianni Versace famously had them walk his shows, Alaïa continues to inspire fierce loyalty. “As well as having the most amazing heart, he is one of the most amazing designers, if not the most amazing designer in the world,” Naomi Campbell said in the Autumn/Winter 2016 issue of AnOther Magazine, commenting in Susannah Frankel’s expansive profile of the designer.

Head here to watch the film – and don’t miss the clip of him dancing with his Saint Bernard to David Bowie. The stuff that fashion documentary gold is made of.