Azzedine Alaia may be one of the greatest designers working today, but the typically press-shy (try finding a photo of him) couturier usually prefers to fly under the radar — at least until this week. On Monday, he revealed to the Financial Times that he’d been offered (and had turned down) the role of creative director at Dior. And yesterday, in a no-holds-barred interview he did with Virgine magazine, Alaia slammed both Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour in one fell swoop.
Let’s cut to the chase.
How do you feel about Karl Lagerfeld?
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.
His words for Wintour are even more cutting, though that there’s no love lost between the two of them is no secret. In a profile for the New York Times last December, Cathy Horyn recounts how he was snubbed by the Metropolitan Museum’s 2009 Costume Institute exhibition, “Model As Muse.” (Accordingly, he made sure his supermodel besties, including Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour, stayed far, far away.) And as we learned from WSJ’s March profile of the editrix, Wintour basically runs that show.
And here’s what Alaia had to say Wintour:
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. [Laughs.] 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.
We appreciate his fearlessness — and he certainly has a point — but will Anna Wintour really be forgotten? We find that hard to believe.
Image via NYT.