- Don-Alvin Adegeest |
Maison Alaïa has opened its first UK store on London’s Bond Street, at number 139 to be exact. It is the house’s first flagship outside of Paris, a 6,000 sq ft space that is full of light and showcases the full spectrum of collections from ready-to-wear to couture by appointment only, shoes, accessories and limited editions. The space has been in the works for nearly a year and is curated with artists and designers from around the world, with all pieces celebrating the refraction of light and transparency.
Mr Alaïa himself, however, died five months ago, and the opening marks a turning point for the brand, which is being kept alive by the design studio and management team. Instead of appointing a new star creative director, or folding the business without its original founder and creative source, Maison Alaïa is functioning, if not thriving.
Alaïa left behind a considerable archive
Compagnie Financière Richemont is the parent company that owns Alaïa, buying a majority share in 2007. The Swiss-based conglomerate is not likely to close the doors for a brand that remains profitable and has the potential to remain so, even after the death of its founder. “There are enough products, samples and ideas in the archives for the studio he left behind to create new seasonal collections for generations," Corso Como 10 founder Carla Sozzani told the New York Times.
Azzedine Alaïa was one of the great couturiers of his time. "Azzedine was able to transform a woman’s body into something special; to make you look great and still like a woman,” Naomi Campbell said after his death. His new London boutique is an extension of that vision. A painting by his partner, the artist Christoph von Weyhe is set alongside glass furniture by Naoto Fukasawa, Shiro Kuramata, Piero Lissoni, Renzo Piano and Tokujin Yoshioka. Other artists include Pierre Paulin, Martin Szekely and Marc Newson, the latter who created a light installation.
Tunisian-born Alaïa is best known for his sculptural dresses that cling to the body. Nicknamed “the king of cling,” he began his career studying sculpture gaining valuable insights into the human form.
Photo credit:Alaïa website