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Taking Time

Book By Azzedine Alaia with Donatien Grau

Azzedine Alaia was a great coutier and legendary designer of women’s wear and shoes. His approach to fashion was artful, and his work won the admiration of all kinds of women. Over the course of his career, his contributions to the fashion world included not only his work, but his philosophy. Alaia believed in fashion as an artform and that good art, at its core, takes time. In November of 2017, the designer died of a heart attack, and on March 31st, his book, Taking Time, was published. With its new release comes the preservation of his legacy. But moreover, the work highlights his dedication as a courtier and acts as a guide to returning to the creative process when we might need it most.

Azzedine Alaia took a unique approach to the book that would preserve his legacy. Rather than a memoir or tell-all, Alaia conveyed his narrative by publishing the conversations he’s had with a variety of creative people. The designer started collecting conversations of these sorts in 2013 and kept documenting them for years to come until the great coutier passed away. Each one features a leader in fashion, art, or design and discusses their point of view on the concept of time: How has time affected their lives? Their industries? Their crafts? Azzedine bravely believed in the importance of taking time even through the rise of fast fashion and in a world full of “right now” kinds of conveniences. Alaia aimed for presenting perfected creations rather than keeping up season to season. The book, and the late coutier himself, vouches for the beauty of slow fashion. Of slow art, slow creativity, slow life.

It seems that the book’s release could not have been better timed, for perhaps we are being presented with the age for time. Perhaps, as the fashion world decides how to move forward, it’s worth taking a note or two from the designer who rejected his industry’s speed completely. Perhaps this book, and Alaia’s legacy, is a reflection of our world today and of what creativity has needed: to finally take time.

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