watch joe mckenna’s beautiful film about fashion master azzedine alaïa

Naomi calls him Papa and Suzy Menkes credits him with inventing the supermodel in this affectionate mini documentary.

by Charlotte Gush
14 March 2017, 2:15pm

Super-stylist Joe McKenna has released his first film, a 25-minute documentary feature, beautifully shot in black and white, about the extraordinary career and personality of Azzedine Alaïa. The film features a heavyweight line-up of fashion figures, from Naomi Campbell, who affectionately calls Alaïa "Papa," to Louis Vuitton creative director Nicholas Ghesquière, American Vogue's Creative Director at Large Grace Coddington, revered fashion critics Cathy Horyn and Vanessa Friedman, stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, former Alaïa stylist (and Edie Campbell's mom) Sophie Hicks, and more.

"He is an artist," Naomi Campbell explains simply. "I wore something three days ago that I wore 21 years ago. Not many designers can do that." Grace Coddington describes how Alaïa would keep fashion editors waiting for two hours before his shows in Paris, but that they would wait "because they knew they wouldn't be disappointed, and they weren't." Suzy Menkes declares that "Azzedine invented the supermodel thing," and Sophie Hicks describes how Linda, Naomi, Iman, and Julie Wolfe would all fly over to walk in his shows — "the girls who didn't come to Paris normally," she explains.

Vanessa Friedman describes how Alaïa works on ideas for years until they are perfect, Katie Grand notes how beautifully made his garments are, and Cathy Horyn explains that his costume work for the girls of Crazy Horse cabaret goes to show his expert understanding of women's bodies. Though Alaïa doesn't speak himself in the documentary, he is seen cutting paper patterns in the studio, serving lunch to his staff, and playing with his absolutely massive St. Bernard dog.

Watch the full film at


Text Charlotte Gush

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Azzedine Alaia
joe mckenna