By Ethan Dincer
The collection showed an almost episodic genealogy, a trajectory of experimental and technical extravagance that progressed through the show. A star theme throughout was a dedication to bell-bottoms, derived from Azzedine’s Spanish skirt shapes. From denim to dresses to bell-bottoms attached to thigh-high boots, the tool added flow and movement to every walk.
Boxy yet tailored coats, cinched silhouettes, and flowy bell-bottoms marked the introductory looks of the 52-look show. A focus on exaggerated necklines, hoods, and coat lapels set the stage for the more experimental and technical pieces to come. The variety of outwear coats hinted at the new Alaïa, one that toys with oversized lines borrowed from menswear yet ever so delicately sewn to maintain a bold feminine silhouette.
Proceeding chronologically through the collection, pops of red and animal print livened up a largely diachromatic scene, although that scene quickly gave way to experimental forms and playful techniques. A dress made entirely of belts followed by a fiery scarlet lace dress, with accompanying bell-bottoms, of course, exhibited this building momentum of technical extravagance.
Succeeded by more mesh and deeper necklines, the collection went on to exhibit a series of knitted dresses with oversized turtlenecks, a knitwear mask that prohibits viewing much of the model’s face. These dresses were executed in close collaboration with the Picasso Foundation, and the face-like illustrated forms on many of the turtlenecks transformed the model into an embodied illusion. Faces aside, this episode of illusionary knitwear was further marked by an immense visual contrast in color and material, elevating the mythical, almost surrealist, extravagance of the show.
The show continued with a series of carefully tailored and nipped mesh-turned-lace gowns, rounded off with toned down yet glamorously elevated gowns in simpler shapes, a peaceful resolution to a visually multidimensional and powerful show. For Mulier’s second collection, the show encapsulated his new vision for Alaïa while paying homage to many of Azzedine’s signatures.