Azzedine Alaia

I spent my last night in Paris watching Azzedine Alaia getting ready for his show, and it was a very thought-provoking way to end this whole hoo-ha of a season. Fitting, you could say (pun fully intended).

You could also say, “But wait! The shows are over! Why is he only getting ready now?” To which I would say: “That’s the point. He is only ready now – actually, he’s not quite ready now, but he will be soon – and he only shows when he is ready.”

And here’s the interesting thing: Mr Alaia’s business is growing by leaps and bounds. He’s taking over the enormous former Prada space at Barneys New York, he has a 120 sq metre space at Harrods already, he’s getting a bigger place at Harvey Nichols, opening corners in China, etc.

This is, I remind you, someone who no longer plays the fashion game at all: shows when the press has left Paris if that’s how it goes (buyers are still there; someone is around), delivers when it’s ready, and doesn’t do pre-collections. Plus, his work is priced at the highest end of the fashion spectrum. All of which has served to make him…more in demand. 

Though Nicholas Sarkozy, for obvious reasons, is generally regarded as the most fashion-forward French politician (there’s his wife, for one, and his close friendship with LVMH chieftain Bernard Arnault, who was a witness at the Bruni-Sarkozy wedding, not to mention his penchant for flashy watches), it turns out the French left is just as intertwined with the fashion world, although in a rather more discrete, long-term sort of way.