They said/We said: The details on Valentino’s fairytale hit and Azzedine Alaïa’s super-secret show

Left: Valentino Couture shot by Peter Stigter. Right: Azzedine Alaïa shot by Julien Hekimian/Getty Images.
Left: Valentino Couture shot by Peter Stigter. Right: Azzedine Alaïa shot by Julien Hekimian/Getty Images.

Couture Week in Paris came to a close today with Azzedine Alaïa showing his first presentation in ages. As we’ve been reporting, the past few days have been marked with highs (Givenchy) and lows (Dior). Regardless, the overall messages of unabashed luxury and attention to detail, inherent to haute dressing, were unanimously heard loud and clear from the handful of couturiers who showed.

It was a success story at Valentino, where designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli made a solid argument for the relevance of couture. The collection was inspired by the flight of the Russian aristocracy after the breakout of revolution, but it sometimes felt more like a medieval fantasy. Sheer, light fabrics, gilded ornamentation, and house signatures such as vibrant red, bows, and lace felt youthful not stuffy, proving that haute couture can still be fresh and exciting when modernized.

At Alaïa, things were more secretive. Showing during an organized fashion week isn’t usually the designer’s style, and today’s presentation wasn’t an occasion to attract endless media attention. Images of the clothing have yet to be released, however Jeanne Beker described strict lines, croc coats, and some pieces in Mongolian lamb. If the move towards exclusivity sounds strange in today’s world of democratized fast fashion, it does make sense in terms of couture’s traditional exclusive nature, only being accessible to a select few. Despite the scant media coverage, big names like Kanye West, Donatella Versace, and Sofia Coppola were in attendance. You can bet there were no members of Vogue present as Alaïa’s feud with Anna Wintour rages on.


Sarah Mower on Valentino: “Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli are really cracking it. [Vogue]

Beker on Alaïa: “Crowd is clapping incessantly at Alaïa, and he’s finally literally dragged out. SUCH shyness and humility!” [Twitter]

Julia Robson, Telegraph UK, on Valentino: “These were clothes fit for a Princess: Step forward, the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlene of Monaco, two women who could slip into Valentino couture and find they fit as snugly as Cinderella’s slipper.” [Telegraph UK]

Jim Shi on Alaïa: “At Alaïa couture show, models strutted 2 Beyoncé’s ‘Girls Who Run the World’ (luv!); not a single Vogue editor attended.” [Twitter]


Rani Sheen, features director, on Alaïa: “Just imagine being one of the select, lucky few attending the first ever Azzedine Alaïa haute couture show today: You show up to his home in the Marais, mingle with Donatella, Sofia, and Kanye on the sidewalk, and speculate about whether you’ll see his possible-nemeses Anna or Karl. Oh, and the clothes!”

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