Azzedine Alaïa’s Collection Showcases the Timeless Beauty of Women Designers
In a thought-provoking article, fashion critic Cathy Horyn critiques the lack of creativity and imagination displayed by designers at Paris Fashion Week. Horyn argues that designers need to break away from constantly referencing the past and instead strive for originality in their designs.
Horyn draws inspiration from an exhibition at the Palais Galliera in Paris, showcasing Azzedine Alaïa’s vast collection of fashion pieces. The collection, which features 20,000 items, reveals Alaïa’s admiration for women designers such as Alix Grès, Madeleine Vionnet, Jeanne Lanvin, Coco Chanel, Augusta Bernard, and Claire McCardell. These designers from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s were known for their ability to create clothes that effortlessly highlighted the female form.
One notable aspect of these designers’ work, which becomes evident through the exhibition, is their use of color. Horyn emphasizes the designers’ love for vibrant and saturated shades like reds, pinks, violets, aquamarine, and cerulean-blue. According to curator Olivier Saillard, Alaïa learned a great deal about the importance of color from these women designers, suggesting that color is key to creating timeless fashion.
In contrast to the innovative use of color by these historical designers, Horyn expresses disappointment with the lack of originality seen in the current fashion scene. Drawing attention to Paris Fashion Week, she highlights designers’ tendency to rely too heavily on archival references. Rather than pushing boundaries and experimenting with new ideas, many designers seem content with rehashing past designs.
The article points out that this lack of imagination is particularly evident in labels like Saint Laurent and Dior. While these brands have a rich history to draw from, Horyn argues that they need to move beyond nostalgia and find fresh inspiration to create truly innovative and original collections.
Horyn calls for a departure from the over-reliance on archival references and a return to true creativity in the fashion industry. By embracing new ideas and taking risks, designers can break free from the limitations of the past and create designs that truly captivate and inspire.