If you know anything about the history of Azzedine Alaïa, you will know that the designer was famous for the wonderful gatherings he used to host at home. Celebrating the best of Arab hospitality, the Tunisian designer organized home cooked dinners in his own kitchen, attended by stars such as Naomi Campbell, Farida Khelfa and Afef Jnifen. Following the footsteps of the founder of the brand, Pieter Mulier also opened the doors of his home in Antwerp to showcase the brand’s Summer-Fall 2023 collection.
Located on the 21st floor of a historical tower with a magnificent view above the Scheldt river, the location saw guests (and models) walking around concrete covered rooms where the art and personal belongings of the designer were placed casually on display. Naturally, the seating was also improvised, with some guests (including Vogue Arabia), seated in the designer’s bed. “Antwerp is the city I love the most in the world, the city where I made my best friends, the city that gave me all my opportunities… We are a small city, but an important one, exactly like Alaia,” the designer mentioned. “People are very surprised that I opened my private house, but I did it because we live in a world where we think we are connected, but we are completely disconnected; we think we share, but we don’t… and at Alaia sharing is very important.”
In continuation with the Alaïa DNA, the collection this time is all about strong women, with models wearing cocoon coats, leather bodycon dresses with flaired skirts, and trousers and tops adorned with metallic nails. There was also drama, with statement faux fur coats, and looks topped with veils covering the models’ hair. A lover of architecture, Mulier also played with proportions, designing trousers that seemed inspired by half moons, and a trench coat with no fabric, just an intricate black structure. And let’s not forget, even the signature heart bag made an apperance, now in XL size. Across the collection, there was an idea of sculpture through clothing, of carving shape from cloth, of the couturier as bâtisseur – or builder – crafting garments around the body.
Overall, the collection proved that sexy still sells, and once you find the right formula, you should stick to it with consistency. Azzedine Alaïa was one of the world’s most admired and timeless designers – even while rebelling against fashion’s chaotic rythm and system. Judging by the sucess of the brand’s recent runways, it seems that Peter Mulier is on the right track to similar acclaim.