The stylist Joe McKenna has just released online his documentary on Azzedine Alaia. Filmed over the past several years,whenever McKenna had breaks from work, it’s a wonderfully intimate portrait of Alaia and his method of working–thanks to McKenna’s long friendship with the designer, he had rare access to the studio and workrooms. Watching Alaia as he does fittings with his house model and makes his own patterns, you get a better sense of why he’s a class apart in the fashion industry.
McKenna had never made a film before, and I remember when he started turning up at fittings with his small camera, or shooting funny moments in Alaia’s kitchen. The fact that the black-and-white film is so simple and true (and not overly polished) is what makes it charming, a time capsule. There are interviews with Nicolas Ghesquiere, Carlyne Cerf, Naomi Campbell and Grace Coddington, among others; and McKenna unearthed amazing clips of Alaia’s early shows. It’s quite a story of commitment to the same ideals over five decades.