Octavian Cărare is a Romanian photographer who has been living in the Belgian capital for 7 years, outlining stories of artists everywhere. If you open his web page and see his photographs, you could swear that he’s the luckiest man in the world – ballerinas of an astonishing beauty and grace as one can only see in art movies or on the great scenes of Operas around the world. This was the first thing I thought of when I saw his profile, ‘How does this guy feel at the photo sessions being surrounded by such beautiful women?’
Madonna and Azzedine Alaïa
Photo: Steven Meisel
”I ALWAYS FEEL FREE. WHEN I DON’T WANT SOMETHING, I DON’T MAKE IT.” Azzedine Alaïa
From Greta Garbo to Madonna, Tina Turner, Naomi Campbell or Lady Gaga, the celebrities worshiped and wore his creations on the most popular stages of the world. Azzedine Alaïa was one of the most wanted designers by the big fashion houses around the world.
Azzedine Alaïa’s exhibition at the Design Museum in London
I went to this exhibition more dragged than willingly. My friend Andreea is passionate about fashion and everything that means make-up. Technically, the exact two areas that are science fiction to me right now. I sometimes believe that I have two left hands; the brushes don’t seem to follow when I try to put some blush on my cheeks. The shelves in her room are full of entire collections of fashion magazines and make-up products – they all have an honoured place there. Instead, in my house there’s none.
We went out for coffee some months ago and Andreea jumped for joy when she saw a billboard, “We’re going to an exhibition!” She told me how cool it was that finally this exhibition came to London. Seeing my perplexity, she put on a long face and asked, “You don’t know who Azzedine Alaïa is?”
Well, I really didn’t know. My knowledge of luxury fashion is rudimentary. She told me this man had dressed up all Hollywood’s celebrities and he had an impressive career, despite the fact that he came from a family of farmers. It was then that this story became the perfect topic for study, so I finally went to the first fashion exhibition of my life.
The exhibition was impeccable. Everything that I’ve seen with my novice eyes was a lot to my taste. It was easy to figure out who were the consumers of luxury items, their clothes showed it and their discussions proved it. The dresses were extremely beautiful and stylish and I admit that, even though I’d rather wear Indian baggy trousers, I imagined myself in some of the favourite dresses there and damn right I loved it. I think it was another revelation for me.
The famous dress worn by Tina Turner
Tina Turner & Azzedine Alaia by Peter Lindbergh
The exhibition was a clear example of the fact that beauty is also created by the society we live in, not only by our inherited genes. Based on the clothes we wear, our entire social interaction can be altered, even though we practically have the same training. I certainly can’t appear with my baggy trousers on the red carpet, just as I can’t travel to India wearing a dress of thousands of euros.
The way the exhibition was organised contributed to creating the luxurious atmosphere. The mirrors reflected the dresses and in those lights carefully placed, the reflections made them look even more attractive. I never wore an item created by a designer so far. Instead, I used to wear second hand clothing. In my teenage years, I couldn’t afford to buy expensive things, and when I had money to buy a luxury bag, for example, I preferred spending it on plane tickets and travels.
What most impressed me at the exhibition was the story of the designer, especially because he originates from a simple family in Tunisia and he proved that by following his passion where his art would be appreciated (i.e. Paris), he managed to step up and become someone important in the world of fashion. This can be the story of any of us who come from simple families, but we work to become the best in our favourite areas.
Celebrities who wore the creations of the Tunisian designer
Azzedine was one of the designers preferred by the most stylish celebrities and his creations were wore at red carpet events all over the world. Madonna, Greta Garbo, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Monica Bellucci, Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, Victoria Beckham, and Michelle Obama are just a few of the world’s successful women who gracefully wore Azzedine’s creations.
Catherine Lardeur says he is the last couturier in the true sense of the word.
Source: Madame Figaro
Photo: Getty Images
Sursa: E! News
Azzedine Alaia & Lady Gaga, Vogue, Jan 2014, Rex Features
Azzedine Alaïa was born in 1940, in Tunisia, in a family of farmers from the Siliana village, but he lived with his grandparents in Tunis. As a teenager, he studied at the School of Fine Arts, specialising in sculpture. After graduation, he took a turn towards the fashion design field. Initially, he was a tailor assistant and later he moved to Paris, in 1956. His clear target was the fashion world. For a short period, Azzedine worked at the Christian Dior fashion house under the guidance of Yves Saint Laurent, but he also collaborated with other famous fashion houses such as Guy Laroche or Thierry Mugler.
The Paris of the young designer
Paris offered young Azzedine the possibility to grow in a field that didn’t give much chances in his home country. As one of the world’s fashion capitals, the capital of France open many doors to the women in the French high society. In this way, his talent spread and he got to work with many of Hollywood’s celebrities. In 1980, he launched his first personal collection, which focused on leather clothing accessorised with all kinds of metal objects. For those times, the outfits were considered daring. One of the traits he conquered the world with is precisely the fact that he dared to step out of patterns. He insisted in wearing only black clothes and ignored the calendar of collections, tirelessly supporting the haute couture traditions.
Photo: Jean Baptiste Mondino
The 30-year old friendship between Naomi Campbell and Azzedine Alaïa
Azzedine’s friends knew him as a man who was extremely careful to other’s needs. He considered that when you spend time around Tunisian people, you’ll find out that keeping their house open for the beloved ones is something natural for them. During childhood, the designer was brought up by his grandmother (his mother’s mother), who taught him how to cook.
One evening in July 1987, when Naomi was only 16 years old and signed her first collaborations in Paris, she met the Tunisian designer. The young woman of that time had arrived to the French capital after her passport and money had been stolen. She remembers that she didn’t utter a word when she was invited to lunch by Azzedine because she didn’t speak French at all. Azzedine called Naomi Campbell’s mother and promised he would take care of her every time she would come to Paris.
In an interview with the journalists at Vogue, Naomi Campbell said she felt like Azzedine was the father she never had. He used to take her to the dentist, to the theatre, and he told her about art. “He was my papa!” she said.
According to the Vogue journalists, the designer’s whole life was built around his personal relationships with those for which he created.
Azzedine is a clear example of the fact that sometimes we need the right context to manifest our talent to its absolute value. For him, Paris was an art market where quality products were consumed with great appreciation. Most of the times, the decision to move to another country may come with the supreme acknowledgement of our potential.
“If you can make it the first 6 months in London, you’re surely going to stay for a long while!”
My friend Andreea, who has been living here for the past 7 years, often told me that the first half of the year is challenging. I moved to London on March 23, after I quit Pro TV. Technically, the day my notice expired, I flew to London. I wrote more about my experience in the television industry and the way I suddenly changed direction towards a job in education in this article.
“When you go see a new place, you naturally compare it to what you are used to, with the country you were born and raised in. This broadens your perspective by which you judge and compare what is positive or less positive in your country, you understand better why in some places it works and in others it doesn’t. Moreover, you learn that what is trivial in one society can be essential in another part of the world. So, you manage to better outline in what kind of society you would like to live for a long-term”. Roger Jin-Kang Cheng, 24 ani, Australia
“The traditional folk costume is my identity mark“, Alexandra Negrilă, 29 years, Bucharest
Alexandra summarises in a very interesting way her passion for the Romanian traditional folk costume. She grew up in the village of Moromeții, at her grandparents. She had the idyllic childhood that I – growing up in the city – could have only imagined through books. Barefoot on the grass and eating vegetables directly from the garden, Alexandra recalls that she was attracted by the folk costume and by the rituals of the villagers since her first years of life. At that age, the fascination was a natural gift because it was the only universe in which she was living in. The honesty of her love for traditions and costume came true after her 20s.
They gave up their careers of legal adviser and manager and left to travel around the world
Three years ago, Andrada – a 26 years old girl from Reghin, Romania – wrote a Facebook post saying she would like to give up her settled life and leave for an adventure on another continent. Petrișor – a 38 years old guy, manager at an international shoes company – read her post and immediately fell in love with the idea. He had the same burning desire.
Physical weight is also an emotional weight, which is hard to carry on one’s back for years or maybe even a lifetime and which sometimes generates major depressions. Under my eyes, for nearly 20 years, my sister had lived feeling inadequate due to the extra pounds. She was a solitary kid, a child being laughed at by many; she was called names – and not pleasant ones! The words and rejections then made her isolate herself for a long time.
Among the 6 cities I visited in India (Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Pushkar, Jaipur and Jaisalmer), Jaisalmer is my favourite one. The city is situated at 186 miles North-East towards the border with Pakistan and close to the desert Thar. The night spent under the clear sky in the middle of the sand dunes is one of the most beautiful memories I have from India. The golden brick fortress bestows a certain elegance on it and, from above, the city looks as if cut out from a movie.
The Trip to India was an impulse towards change. For years I’ve been wanting to live in other countries, but there was always something like an invisible force that kept holding me back. I did not have the courage to leave everything that I had built during the years working as a reporter. I had fears but still my imagination continued to create the scenario in which I was in a multicultural space. India pulled a tremendous courage out of me, bringing it to surface, but it was too silent for me to hear it. At my return home, I knew it was a matter of time, but I was sure I was going to move to another country for a while.
I am alone and there are hundreds of tourists around me. Wherever I look, beyond the crowd preparing to visit one of the 7 wonders of the world, at each street corner, I see souvenir stands. A guy of about 30 years old, wearing a pair of modern jeans, an orange shirt and a black and navy blue plaid jacket over it approaches and asks if I want to take a tour of the Taj Mahal with him. Not for free however, because he is a tour guide. I refuse without even thinking: ‘I am not giving you any money, I can do it by myself!’. For a few seconds I insist that I am independent, he – that I need a guide.