Pieter Mulier’s first collection at Alaïa has arrived four years after Alaïa’s passing.
A Belgian designer who cut his teeth as Raf Simons’ right hand at Jil Sander, Dior, and Calvin Klein, Mulier wanted his first collection for the French house to be "a return to foundations". To set the scene, he staged the show on the Rue de Moussy, outside the atelier where its founder once lived, worked, and cooked (Alaïa was famous for hosting dinner parties for fashion friends including Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington).
The homage continued in the looks, too, with a roll call of greatest hits including body-sculpting knitwear, multi-strap corset belts, and hooded silhouettes evocative of Alaïa’s North African roots. But this was no mere archive dive. Mulier transfigured Alaïa staples like the white poplin shirt, which in the founder’s stylistic vocabulary was an underpinning for his showstopping corset belts. In Mulier’s interpretation, the shirt itself took centre stage via an ingenious series of flowing tops cut away to reveal a triangle of solar plexus sure to make Dua Lipa or Doja Cat happy. These were paired with bubble-hem maxi skirts or kicky pleated minis for maximum legs.
Nine of the looks — including the cutaway tops — were couture, while the majority of the collection was ready to wear. Even though he showed the collection during couture fashion week, Mulier prefers the two to co-exist side by side as women might wear it, "without rules or boundaries". Should you want to try some of the prêt-à-porter bits on for size, they’re of a season Mulier dubs "winter-spring" (rather than autumn/winter or spring/summer) and will be available from December to May. It all makes a certain degree of sense given that Alaïa never showed on schedule and was one of fashion’s original rule breakers. That’s a torch Mulier seems proud to carry.
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