Azzedine Alaïa goes dotty, makes menswear and news

Last night I made my end of fashion week pilgrimage to the atelier of Azzedine Alaïa to see what he has been working on. As usual, Mr Alaïa did not have a show during the Paris collections; he was too busy.

Indeed, he’s got quite a lot to say about the time pressures on designers, and other industry professionals who engage in the catwalk game, to the extent that he’s planning a symposium on the subject. Stay tuned.

Anyway, there’s a lot going on over there.

Starting with the fact he’s not just busy making clothes: he is making the costumes for a French ballet, to debut in April, as well as for a Los Angeles Opera production of the Marriage of Figaro, which will open mid-May. Oh, and he’s getting ready for a major exhibit of his work at the Musée Galliera in the autumn.

At the moment, though, the opera is taking up a lot of Mr Alaïa’s time, as each character has multiple outfits. (The ballet has multiples too, but at least they are multiples of the same look. There’s a lot of wear and tear on the dancers’ clothes, since they spend some time rolling around on the floor, apparently.)

This wardrobing includes the men, so anyone who sees the Mozart production will get to see the first iteration of Alaïa menswear, from trousers to suits and overcoats. It might never make it beyond the stage, but here’s betting there will be demand.

Amid all this, Mr Alaïa is also beginning to set up his selling collection to show store buyers, and for next autumn/winter, it’s all about knits and polka dots, from tights and gloves, to trousers with matching tops (see picture) and dresses. “I don’t know why,” he said when I asked him. “I just like them.”

Also look out for longer lengths – to mid-calf – in his trademark dresses, which give them an alluring mix of modernity (vest-like tops) and romance. There’s a tea-dance aspect to the skirts that just begs a twirl.