DFR Editorial: Azzedine Observations on Karl & Anna

Like a “Virgine”

Azzedine Alaia is arguably, one of the most revered and well respected fashion designers in the world. But most of us, especially on this side of the Atlantic, know very little about what the 71 year old, Tunisian born French couturier, (who may be ‘small’ in stature, but towering in terms of talent and influence), REALLY thinks. Until just recently, that is. An article in Friday’s New York Post, opposite Page Six, ‘Designer rips Karl, Anna’, reported that AA opened up to the new online magazine, Virgine, http://virginemag.com/, and minced no words regarding his thoughts on Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

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”.

Ouch! While I don’t necessarily agree with the design legend about Karl, I myself am a fan of Karl’s – well, most of the time. I think he has done a fabulous job bringing Chanel into the 21st century. I do agree that, at times, there is something rather ‘caricature’ about his designs, and I can’t help but think he is literally laughing all the way to the bank. He knows there will always be a customer who will buy into whatever it is he throws out there.

But it was his observations about Anna that I could not have agreed with him more:

“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. Anyway, who will remember Anna Wintour in the history of fashion? No one.”

Arguably the most powerful woman in fashion, Anna has the means and the wherewithal to get her hands on anything she wants, in terms of clothing and accessories. Every designer would love to dress her and provide her with whatever her little heart desires. It’s wise (if not mandatory) for someone in Anna’s position to eschew trends and ‘effect’ a uniform of sorts; something her counterpart at Harper’s Bazaar, Glenda Bailey should learn to do (with all due respect, Glenda tends to change her style constantly, wearing whatever is ‘of the moment’ even if it does not suit her). That being said, in my opinion (and this is highly subjective of course), I have noticed increasingly that Anna has become stuck in an unflattering fashion rut of her own making, and has become a caricature of herself (down to the sunglasses).

She’s begun to favor a mode of dress that is not particularly modern, is fairly aging, and downright boring. What’s up with those ditsy little printed dresses, little dainty necklaces, and those nude Manolo Blahnik sandals which she never veers from? (I’ve seen her dressed the exact same way, even when she attends the tennis matches, as she follows her dear friend Roger Federer).

And what about those furs? It’s no wonder she’s been likened to Cruella de Ville and has become PETA’s public enemy number one. It’s one thing to wear furs in the frigid winter months, but Anna seems to want to ‘tease’ PETA with her year round fur habit. I saw a picture of her at a soiree last month (it was a warm day in May), and she was wearing a fluffy ivory fur ‘stole’ or jacket, over her printed dress.

In my opinion, she would have looked far more modern and chic, had she chosen a tuxedo jacket, a man tailored blazer, a cardigan, a trenchcoat, a parka, or anything else for that matter. Years ago, on a rainy day during New York Fashion Week, I spotted her wearing skinny dark jeans, high heeled boots, and an off white Burberry trench, and I thought she had never looked better.

Maybe she should think of changing it up now and again? Just a suggestion Anna.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.


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