This is a word not found in his dictionary. Enter ‘Azzedine Aläia’ into Google, and you’ll be greeted by websites such as Elle and Vogue displaying his Fall 2017 couture collection. That’s about it. Even this simple Google search demonstrates the uniqueness of Aläia, as a man who does not adhere to the conventions of the traditional fashion calendar. In fact, his Fall 2017 collection is his first runway collection in six years. Yet, his name is distinct, recognised and revered by the head honchos of the fashion industry, with reputable publications putting his collections on a pedestal to be admired for generations to come.
Why do they do this? Why is this man, someone who puts out a collection once every few years, so revered by the veterans of the industry? Look no further than his clothes for the answer.
Aläia’s clothes are a celebration of the female form. With leather and knit being Aläia’s materials of choice, his deft hands would create an ensemble of dresses and coats that echo a sense of timelessness and sexiness, elevating a woman’s ordinary silhouette into a glorious masterpiece. Perhaps it would be apt to say that the beauty of Aläia’s clothes lies in the subtle voice that whispers seductiveness to the world around the wearer, calling attention to the people around the wearer although she is clad in discreet neutrals.
The more I look at Aläia’s clothes, the more I recognise their appeal. His clothes are a testament to never conform, to never rush to appease people’s short-term expectations. Instead, it is better to stay humble, to believe in and master your craft so that the right people will truly celebrate your art for what it is worth. Conformity may not be a word in Aläia’s dictionary, but instead, what I find in his dictionary are beliefs and values that share a characteristic evident in his clothes: Timelessness.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Aläia.