Azzedine Alaïa may have turned down a job at Dior, but that doesn’t mean the 73-year-old designer is looking to retire. On the contrary, he’s planning to expand his eponymous label by opening up his first storefront since 1992.
The Financial Times‘s Vanessa Friedman reports that Alaïa’s new complex on Paris’s Rue de Marignan, right off of luxury retail mecca Avenue Montaigne, is actually a five-story building that will include offices, a store, and a showroom. The store, set to open in March 2013, spells change for the reclusive designer, who is highly in demand despite the fact that he has historically forced clients to seek him out by opting out of the corporate side of fashion. By not advertising and rarely speaking to the press, he makes people come to him, and they consistently do; Barneys more than doubled his floorspace last year, luxury goods group Richemont is an investor, and celebs like Michelle Obama and Sofia Coppola love him. Now he will once again have his own flagship, and people who don’t already know the name Maison Azzedine Alaïa will be able to just walk in and see his designs (although FT says “there are no plans to do big vitrines of clothes and bags, but to keep it a those-who-know address”).
Whether you like him or not, it’s hard not to respect Alaïa. He is incredibly honest and isn’t afraid to speak out against titans like Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld. He does things his way, and his way results in some pretty amazing clothes.