On Alaia Archives
These days I am pretty selective about what I choose to hold onto and let go of. Especially living in an apartment in NYC, and with my conscious effort to declutter my life, I’m quick to let go of many pieces that I no longer “need,” with the exception, of course, of my collection of Alaia’s.
I’ve worn Azzedine Alaia since I was seventeen years old. Some pieces were hand-me-downs from my older sisters and some were treasures I was fortunate enough to receive when my mom was feeling generous and would take me out on a glorious shopping spree.
Alaïa was born in Tunisia in 1940. He lied about his age to get himself into the Ecole des Beaux Arts where he gained valuable insights into the human form and began studying sculpture. I believe he is a genius in truly understanding the woman’s body, which translates to each piece he creates forming into a work of art.
When he moved to Paris, he built a tiny atelier where for almost 20 years he privately dressed the world’s Jet Set – from Marie Helene de Rothchild to Greta Garbo, who used to come incognito for her fittings.
In 1980 he produced his first ready to wear collection and opened his shop in the Marais district. There, he dressed an infinite amount of celebrities, models and public figures who made him one of the most sought after designers. My favorite memories of Alaia images came from Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar in the 90’s that featured Christy, Naomi and Linda. I’d tear out these pages and cover my bedroom walls with them. Those were fun days when some of my favorite memories were wearing Alaia and feeling beautiful, sexy and confident.
With my conscious effort to consume less and live a more sustainable lifestyle, I feel gratified when I recycle my clothing and wear vintage or archives from my own closet. My daughters and I share a main closet, where we all share and wear these pieces styled personally to our individual taste.
The value of these archive pieces are worth high hundreds to even in the thousands. I am happy to still hold on to these treasures and be able to wear them either on a night out or casually with flats or sneakers in the daytime.
Tips With Evaluating what needs to go or what is a keeper:
Is this something I would put on tomorrow? (weather permitting)
Does it still fit? (sometimes oldies lose their shape)
Can it be tailored or reconstructed if needed?
What is its value? Check out online vintage shops and do some research
Can I pass this down to someone who might get more use out of it?
Photo’s in this story by June Kim