Consider Pieter Mulier’s latest effort for Alaïa a powerful calling card for wool — and for widescreen creative expression within self-defined limits.
The Belgian designer challenged himself to create a collection using only a single merino yarn, which is astonishing considering the garments that paraded through Alaïa’s Rue de Marignan boutique resembled denim, velvet, shearling — you name it.
They were also minimal, womanly, and very Alaïa, exalting feminine curves without resorting to cling. In fact, most of the clothes were built on circular shapes, from the looped fringe confections that opened the display to the sexy evening gowns that coiled over the bust and stomach like an expertly peeled orange.
Mulier reprised his jeans with curved outseams, and rounded off dramatic cuffs to cabbage-sized globes of fluff.
The designer is definitely hitting his stride at the Paris-based house, and reading the room more accurately.
“I wanted to step back a little bit from that overly sexualized woman that we did in the past,” he told a small group of journalists after the show. “I like to call it a new kind of luxury. Everybody talks about quiet luxury, but this is quiet luxury. There’s one thread.”
Kudos to Alaïa’s historic Italian suppliers, one for wovens and one for knitwear, for rising to the challenge to transform merino — with dashes of viscose and nylon — into animal prints, suede-like surfaces, and skirts with seamless godets that felt like modern cousins to the founder’s beloved knit skater dresses.
And kudos to Mulier for coaxing so much verve, sophistication and chic from one yarn, clean shapes and minimal decoration, which goes to the essence of Azzedine Alaïa’s gift to fashion.
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