Azzedine Alaïa | Always Quotable

Jul 10, 2011   //   by Rory Tunbridge   //   No Comments

Courtesy of Interview Magazine

Azzedine Alaïa is one of the greatest designers of our time: who else could get away with snubbing Anna Wintour, Nicolas Sarkozy, Karl Lagerfeld and LVMH? The free thinking designer has always marched to the beat of his own drum, refusing to show collections on the runway for 8 years, publicly turning down a position at Christian Dior (a company he worked for in 1957 for just 5 days) and refusing the Légion d’honneur. Anna Wintour might not be a fan of his personality, but we certainly are. In addition to designing beautiful clothes for women for over 40 years, Alaïa has been one of the most quotable interviewees of the past few years. To celebrate his recent return to the couture runway, we’ve put together some of our favorite recalcitrant quotes:

1. “I have been offered the highest paid contracts in the world. I refused them all. It’s not my thing. I don’t want to cheat people. And there are certain people I am allergic to. I even intervene when I don’t like a customer; I rush in and check all the names. If I don’t like them, I don’t take them.”

2. “I said it before. She runs the business (Vogue) very well, but not the fashion part. When I see how she is dressed, I don’t believe in her tastes one second. I can say it loudly! She hasn’t photographed my work in years even if I am a best seller in the U.S. and I have 140 square meters at Barneys. American women love me; I don’t need her support at all. Anna Wintour doesn’t deal with pictures; she is just doing PR and business, and she scares everybody. But when she sees me, she is the scared one. Other people think like me, but don’t say it because they are afraid that Vogue won’t photograph them. Anyway, who will remember Anna Wintour in the history of fashion? No one. Take Diana Vreeland, she is remembered because she was so chic. What she did with the magazine was great, with Avedon and all the great photographers. Vogue remains while its fashion editors come and go.”

3. “Even when you tell me I’m an influential designer – I don’t see myself like that. So I don’t like decorations. You know Sarkozy offered me the Légion d’honneur medal? I refused. People said I refused because I don’t like Sarkozy, but that’s ridiculous. I refused because I don’t like decorations – except on women. My dress on a woman – that’s a beautiful decoration.”

4. “I don’t like his fashion, his spirit, his attitude. It’s too much caricature. Karl Lagerfeld never touched a pair of scissors in his life. That doesn’t mean that he’s not great, but he’s part of another system. He has capacity. One day he does photography, the next he does advertisements for Coca-Cola. I would rather die than see my face in a car advertisement. We don’t do the same work. And I think that he is not doing a favor to young stylists who might think it works that way. They’re going to fall before they retire.”

5. Stephanie Seymour Brandt: “People often talk about how you work. You live by your own schedule. It seems like you wait until you are completely and thoroughly inspired to do a collection. You are much more like an artist in that you don’t even think in seasons. Why is this?” Azzedine Alaïa: “I don’t create a story. It’s in the materials.”

Take a peek in our gallery below for a beautiful editorial shot by photographer Craig McDean for Interview Magazine of Gisele Bündchen modeling Alaïa’s designs.

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