“You don’t understand,” moans ALICIA SILVERSTONE as her character CHER is robbed at gunpoint and asked to get down on the ground in the movie CLUELESS. “This is an ALAÏA… He’s like a totally important designer.” And she’s right even back then and especially now. Though with an enormous boutique of his own at BARNEY’S NEW YORK and an A-LIST client roster that includes NAOMI CAMPBELL, MADONNA and CARINE ROITFELD, many AMERICANS are clueless about who he is, because of the total blackout at VOGUE, due to his longstanding feud with ANNA WINTOUR (“She runs the business very well, but not the fashion part. When I see how she is dressed, I don’t believe in her tastes one second… 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?”). Also dissing Anna’s partner-in-fashion-crime 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.”), Alaïa has a take-no-prisoners attitude. Despite the cat fighting, there are many who believe he reigns supreme as the world’s greatest couturier (us included). He declined JOHN GALLIANO’s position at DIOR, not wanting to be part of “the rest of the story.” A retrospective of Alaïa’s work was displayed at the Palais Galliera in the Musée de la mode. Seventy garments were included, each of which was created entirely by hand, pulled from private collections and entirely restored. In fact, the designer forewent working on a Spring 2014 collection so he could restore every piece to its original condition. The pieces spanned three decades of work and were shown on custom-made mannequins. Following that exhibition, the Galleria Borghese museum in Rome presented a display of 65 garments by designer by the TUNISIAN designer, as a showcase of "soft sculpture" within the context of the museum’s permanent collection. Here are divine highlights from that. Viva, Alaïa!