In my mind, it would have been the perfect but not so conventional fashion week meal. I would be sitting around a glass table, patiently waiting for dinner to be served. After a long day of shows, the delicious smell of Arabic food coming from the kitchen would have made me even more impatient. Suddenly, a short but grand man dressed in Chinese black pajamas would erupt, giving orders for the dinner he cooked with his own hands to be served. “Et voilà!” Welcome chez Azzedine Alaïa.
Although we had a handful of friends in common, it is with great sadness that I never had the chance to experience one of Alaïa’s famous home gatherings, where Naomi Campbell, Afef Jnifen, Farida Khelfa, and the Kardashians rubbed shoulders. Unfortunately, due to my recent arrival at Vogue Arabia, we never met, either.
Not having been in the presence of the great Tunisian couturier doesn’t mean Alaïa was any less part of my world. To begin, for the obvious reason: his body of work was completely unique, gloriously fluent in sculptural dresses – as beautiful from the inside as from the outside – that gifted women the capacity of feeling powerful. Not less important, his way of living was an incredible lesson for all of us. A true self made man, Alaïa was brave enough to refuse the pressure of the demanding commercial fashion calendar. Instead of following seasons or trends, he would present his new designs simply when he felt they were ready. Take it, or leave it.
Although this issue is bursting with amazing stories, one of the features I am most proud of is the exclusive interview with the couturier, written by our features director. More fortunate than I, Caterina Minthe had the privilege to spend a few days with the designer before he passed away this November, talking and sitting for hours in his kitchen for an interview we didn’t have the chance to publish while Alaïa was still with us. is is our way of paying homage to one of the most prolific designers of the Arab world, who will forever be remembered as an unmatchable icon… and a great cook.
Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief, Manuel Arnaut