Alaïa and Lagerfeld: The Lives of Very Different Men

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Individuals in style are obsessed with time.

It is why designers chat about currently being encouraged by ages: gilded, jazz, room or medieval. It’s why fashion writers reference decades like they are talking about reuniting with outdated pals. The 1970s are again. The 1990s are back. The 1950s, the 2000s.

It’s why one of the most devastating criticisms of a certain outfit is that it’s “dated.” It’s why in May, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York Metropolis will existing a complete exhibition devoted to the strategy of time in vogue (“About Time: Style and Duration”).

Time is the industry’s central grievance: There is not sufficient of it to make points — high high quality, creatively fulfilling issues — under the calls for of the seasonal output cycle and, far more commonly, modern-day use practices.

To that close, Azzedine Alaïa’s posthumous book “Taking Time” does not propose practical solutions. But it does supply thoughtful commiseration for artists feeling frustrated with “haste and thirst for new ideas” and the “diminishing of our creativity,” as Mr. Alaïa stated in the e-book.

The 13 transcripts are intelligent and perfectly-edited by Mr. Grau, complete of observations like “every piece of art is a fight from time,” from the novelist Jean-Claude Carrière, or “there’s fewer creativity mainly because, sad to say, there are too several brands,” from Carla Sozzani, the gallerist, founder of 10 Corso Como in Milan and a longtime Alaïa friend.

Continue to, one particular just cannot assistance but marvel what a dialogue might look like in between Mr. Alaïa and a fashion up to date who wasn’t his close friend.

In a tiny moment early on in her recent biography of Karl Lagerfeld, the journalist Raphaëlle Bacqué writes that Mr. Lagerfeld fulfilled Mr. Alaïa at a meal in Paris in the 1950s — a few decades following Mr. Lagerfeld, the upcoming Chanel designer, arrived in France.

It was about this time that Mr. Lagerfeld, about 20, started crafting what Ms. Bacqué termed “smoke screens” close to his particular historical past, obscuring information of his daily life and shifting conversation away from his wartime upbringing in Germany.

“Such whirling, well-informed and lightweight conversation,” Ms. Bacqué wrote in “Kaiser Karl: The Existence of Karl Lagerfeld” — small chat, and the opposite of the deep discussions Mr. Alaïa was acknowledged to hold in his kitchen area.

Mr. Lagerfeld was enigmatic, and in the very first main biography to be introduced following his loss of life — revealed in the United States in February — the author has to reckon with equally the reality beneath his exaggerations and the compound of his feuds.

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