An Evening with Azzedine Alaia

Here at S&B, we didn't decide to become a Fashion Brand, just because it was a cool thing to do.

Both of us have worked in the Textile Industry since leaving school, so we have many stories of working with designers. The following dates back to January 2003.

One such moment was with Azzedine Alaia, the Tunisian born designer living and working in Paris. A phone call came through for me from a French lady requiring urgent help on a Print. It was to be worn on a Catwalk in a weeks time and modelled by Naomi Campbell of all models.

This was not going to be an easy task. Mr Alaia needed 20m to be printed on Friday, to get to Paris the following Monday to be made into garments and shoes, and on the catwalk the Thursday evening.

First and foremost we had to rework the design and put it into a repeat.

The only way I was going to get the print to Paris for Monday morning, was to fly there myself with it in my luggage, costs to be covered by Azzedine Alaia. All signed off.

6am Monday morning I was at East Midlands Airport and ready for my flight to Paris. Straight into a Taxi to Central Paris, I dropped off the fabric and boarded my flight back to the UK the very same day. Job done.

Tuesday morning I received another phone call. "Mr Alaia would like to invite you to the Fashion Show on Thursday night. Please come to Paris for Wednesday evening, as Mr Alaia would like to cook you an evening meal" I'm not sure how but got this got passed by my employer at the time!

Before they changed their mind I booked cheap flights and a cheap hotel next to the Airport.  Arriving at Azzedine Alaia HQ on Rue De Moussey twice in one week was different from what I had become used to. It was early evening, the City was already on its way home, but if you know Fashion, it doesn't stop at 5pm. It stops when the creative mind switches off, which could be anytime. We made our way downstairs and there was Mr Alaia in full Chef Mode, preparing an evening meal for a few designers and me. I was way out of my comfort zone, this is a far cry from a chippy tea in Annesley. The meal was of course amazing and I can still visualize the whole thing to this day. A Truly fantastic once in a lifetime experience.

10 or 11pm, Mr Alaia decides its time to leave work as the Fashion Show is tomorrow. He asked me where I was staying and he baulked at the idea of me going back to an Airport Hotel, so he took me to Hotel Costes and demanded a room for me. This was very swanky, well it was to me. He left me there to enjoy my evening and await contact tomorrow.

Being Paris and a swanky hotel, they had their own CD of Music playing, which I swiftly purchased and still have to this day. I had a great nights sleep, those pillows were amazing, it literally felt like I had my head amongst little fluffy clouds.

I spent the following morning strolling the streets of Paris, thinking to myself this is the life. You do get moments in life when you have to pinch yourself. The evening arrived and it was time for my VIP to the Fashion Show. I am in the zone now, feeling good and when Naomi Campbell walks the walk in the print which had only just been finished over the weekend was mindblowing.

Sadly, Mr Alaia passed away in 2017. 

Naomi never asked for my Phone Number.



1 comment

I’d buy that! Unfortunately, I’m not sure it would look quite the way it does on Naomi.

Lisa Kinsman March 19, 2020

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