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Alaia 'Cultists' Get Their Treat, at Last

November 27, 1987|PAT McCOLL

PARIS — Twenty-two days after the last of the Paris shows for spring took place and American retailers had all flown home, designer Azzedine Alaia finally decided he was ready with his collection.

For Charles Gallay, the Los Angeles retailer who returned to Paris especially for the event, it was worth it. "Vintage Alaia," he said after the last of the models had slithered down the runway in one of Alaia's skintight rayon knits.

Other retailers who came to Paris just for Alaia included Brown's and Joseph of London, while the peripatetic Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis was the front-row celebrity in a red-and-white Chanel knit mini.

The Shock of Long

The show opened with the shock of long: ankle-length, full-skirt silk raincoats that opened to reveal the flash of short, cuffed shorts with sweaters or full-skirted Grecian tunic dresses.

Alaia played with both lengths throughout the collection, as well as alternating his signature skin-tight styles with loose, full shapes. Short, in particular, was not helped by bare-legged models wearing high-heel suede pumps.

There was also the alternative of pants, classic pleated trousers or Glamour Pants, tight to mid-thigh and then exploding in a fan flare of pleats, shown for evening with his new overflowing decollete sweater.

Perhaps his best looks, and those singled out by Gallay, were the white shirts, big and blousey on top and then seamed tight to the midriff.

"The Alaia customer is a cultist," said Gallay. "What she can find in this collection will work with her other Alaia pieces."

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