Amid all the speculation about who would replace John Galliano as the couturier at the house of Dior, people who thought they were on the inside placed bets on everyone from Haider Ackermann to Sarah Burton. But Azzedine Alaia, the man who was actually offered the job, was never even touted as a possible contender. And he’s already turned the position down.
That’s because Alaia, who told the Financial Times‘ Vanessa Friedman that the company offered him Galliano’s old gig, doesn’t want to be bothered with the minutiae of running a gigantic high-fashion company. He’s been an advocate of slowing down the fashion calendar and the pressure to produce more and more collections — Friedman writes that his deal with the Richemont company, which owns a huge chunk of his company is pretty sweet. They diligently file his archives while he delivers collections only when he’s damn well ready. Moving from there to a company that demands that you produce a collection on a tight schedule would be a lot to take on, even if you weren’t in your 70s.
There were some who thought that having Alaia (or a designer like him) at the helm could actually help reign in the fashion cycle down again. Apparently every brand is “looking for a reason to change and slow down,” and Alaia would have been the perfect catalyst. But Friedman says none of that matters now.
Anyway, in the end it’s moot, because Mr Alaia wasn’t interested. Flattered, but not about to pursue. The story of what happened with John was a sad story, he said when I asked him, and he didn’t want to be part of the next chapter. And that’s even before you got to the other stuff.
The sheer fact that the Dior leadership was thinking this way does, however, make me think the field may be more open than the fashion world suspects. Goody.
So what does all of this mean? That the guessing game is going to start all over again.