Alaïa's Winter Spring 2023 show was a housewarming of sorts. Pieter Mulier welcomed Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell, Karlie Kloss and the rest of the fashion set into its new address at 15 Faubourg Saint-Honoré. A dream of Azzedine and Christoph, reads the show notes, that Mulier feels honoured to have realised.
It's on this point that the show builds on. Emphasising the importance of our physical reality; of the weight and rawness of real life, the pleasure of being present within it and building upon it. So much so that in the show notes Mulier invites guests to put their phones down. It's a comment that would have been irritating two years ago, but in an era when metaverse fashion is no longer a ridiculous prospect, being told to put our phones down has gone so out of vogue that it somehow feels radical again.
It helps that Alaïa makes tuning into the present so easy. A conversation between control and release could be found everywhere one looked. The hair, which was slicked back or soft and wild, like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and the clothes, which narrowed in, be it through a leather waist belt, and flared, but always puts the body before cleverness or embellishment. And if you did find yourself slipping away, the heavy drumming would pull you back into this display of elevate 80s glamour.
Everything was tactile. Strings upon strings of fat pearls were layered around Akon Changkou's neck. Ribbed webs of white wool clung to Kai Newman. Faux fur had its turn down the runway. And even the shoes were dripping with beaded pearls, or had the heel swapped out for a set of gold legs. It's the kind of clothing you stroke, running your hands over your hips to feel the material collide with skin. Colour was dark and monochromatic, until the end that is when Mulier rewarded us with a splash of vibrancy. Sherry Shi entered in a red, blue and silver mirror ball bodysuit, while others slinked out in glittering hoods and elevated disco dresses; an extension of the butter yellow, sky blue and carmine looks worn by Julia Nobis and Rianne Van Rompaey, with long, drapey fishtail skirts that defined waist from hips in the most delicious way.
See the Alaïa Winter Spring 2023 collection for yourself, below.