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THEIR HEARTS BELONGED TO PAPA: 12 MODELS SHARE THEIR MEMORIES OF AZZEDINE ALAÏA

THEIR HEARTS BELONGED TO PAPA: 12 MODELS SHARE THEIR MEMORIES OF AZZEDINE ALAÏA

Photo: Condé Nast Archive

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Naomi Campbell

“Looking back at all these pictures brings tears to my eyes. Such great times. We would all fly back for Papa’s shows [the designer presented on his own schedule] because we all wanted to. We wanted to work for a genius and be part of his unique cuts and patterns.”

See the Spring 1992 collection.

Photo: Condé Nast Archive 2/30

Naomi Campbell

“This photo was from the Sweet Charity show, which was inspired by the movie with Shirley MacLaine. I remember that day very well as I had a high temperature and flu. There was a ballet barre at the back of the runway and we were all meant to pose on it, just like in the opening of the film. The [carved] heels of the shoes were of my legs and derriere, and of course were not the easiest to walk in. Even Yasmeen Ghauri, the best walker, fell. And then everyone else did too! We would learn fast: Papa was furious at me. He said that I was not giving it my best. (This was the first of three shows.) Of course, he was right. Papa taught me to put mind over matter and helped me to get it together for the second and third show. Persevere—the show must go on!”

See the Spring 1992 collection.

Photo: Condé Nast Archive

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Farida Khelfa

“I met Azzedine in the early ’80s. I was with Jean-Paul Goude at this time, and we went to see him to dress me for a perfume ad. [We chose a dress of Scotch tartan.] The thing that’s funny is that it was very different from what Azzedine became known for. At this time he was exploring every area in the fashion, every direction. Azzedine adored Madame Vionnet. He knew fashion perfectly. Of course he loved Balenciaga; for him Balenciaga was the master. He was doing a lot of things before he started to concentrate on knits and leather and things like that. It was very interesting to meet him at this time, and when we met it was really a match: He came from Tunisia, my parents came from Algeria, so we had a direct connection. We were probably the only Arabs in the fashion industry in Paris.”

See the Fall 1989 collection.

Farida Khelfa

”Azzedine loved women, and women loved him. (He always said, ‘I couldn’t dress men, it’s not my interest.’ He found his uniform and he never changed.) We loved to stay with him, listening to Oum Kalthoum while doing fittings all night long, and staying at his place having fun, eating. We had intimacy with him. He was very funny, very caring. He was very taking care of his friends. You could call him at 4:00 a.m. and he would answer and ask you to come over and sleep over, he was that kind of a person. You don’t have too many friends like that, so [his death] is a huge loss for me.”

Photo: Condé Nast Archive

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Photo: Condé Nast Archive

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Linda Evangelista

“Azzedine taught me to speak French as he was the one person in fashion who didn’t speak English! He treated me like family: We went to soccer games together and I brought him homemade hot sauce.”

See the Spring 1990 collection.


Photo: Condé Nast Archive

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Linda Evangelista

“We didn’t have just a designer-model relationship, we could spend an entire evening together and not speak about the fashion world once.”

See the Spring 1990 collection.

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Helena Christensen

 “I remember feeling as if I was visiting family when I went to get fitted or came for dinner. My first tiny apartment in Paris was around the corner from Azzedine’s house and every so often I would just pop over and just hang out and chat with him. There was always such a cozy atmosphere in his studio, which doubled as his home. Some Moroccan stew would be sizzling in the kitchen and his tiny little dogs were running around wanting to be cuddled.”

See the Spring 1991 collection.


Photo: Condé Nast Archive

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Helena Christensen

“I never felt I was working when I was being fitted by Azzedine because he was so kind and always smiling and telling stories.”

See the Spring 1991 collection.

Photo: Condé Nast Archive

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Elaine Irwin

“I had the great fortune to work with Azzedine as his fit model for several seasons. I witnessed his process and came to appreciate how Azzedine saw women as an incredible force of nature—he designed clothing to embrace the female spirit, but also to empower it.”

See the Spring 1990 collection.

Photo: Condé Nast Archive

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Elaine Irwin

“Azzedine’s clothing highlighted the female form while at the same time emphasizing strength and balancing elegance, while still being bold and alluring.”

See the Spring 1990 collection.

Photo: Condé Nast Archive

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Veronica Webb

“André Leon Talley and my agent Bethann Hardison introduced me to Azzedine. It was love at first sight—he made fun of my baby fat and I joked with him about his height. And then he put me in heels and sent me out on the runway. Wearing his clothes made me feel like a badass. Totally secure in my body and dressed and ready for going after anything in life I wanted.”

See the Spring 1992 collection.

“Azzedine suffered a lot as an artist and he gave his life to every stitch, that’s the simple reason why his clothes are perfect. His workmanship and vision are timeless and eternal.”

See the Spring 1992 collection.

  

Source: https://www.vogue.com/slideshow/azzedine-alaia-remembered-by-his-model-muses-first-person