ABOVE: AZZEDINE ALAIA WITH STEPHANIE SEYMOUR BRANT.
A year ago today, Azzedine Alaïa presented his first show in eight years during Fall 2011 couture week in Paris, and the crowd—Donatella Versace, Kanye West, and Sofia Coppola included—could not stop applauding. Today, in a move that should generate just as much excitement, Alaïa announced that he will be opening a new storefront in the city, right off Avenue Montaigne (the French equivalent of Fifth Avenue). The boutique will be the designer’s first since his Manhattan flagship shut its doors in 1992.
Alaïa is ever the enigma. The fashion industry unequivocally adores him, while he all but rejects the industry. He has no online presence, he does not advertise, and he has not yet deigned to enter the lucrative fragrance market (although we’re betting there are plenty of women who wish he would). Until now, interested buyers had to visit his isolated showroom in the Marais or head to high-end department store—and they did so, gladly: Barneys reportedly doubled its sales floor space for Alaïa last year, and the atelier is currently at capacity working on private orders.
True to form, his company’s new outpost won’t be directly on the Avenue, but a block over on the less commercial Rue de Marignan. Alaïa has no plans for big windows displays; the property, which is actually a five-story hôtel particulier, will accommodate a retail store, showroom, a workshop, and some office space. The Maison is scheduled to open in March 2013. We hope this signals the coming of a more public and prolific Alaïa—who knows, maybe we won’t have to wait eight years for another fashion show. Is next March too soon to ask?