Designer v. Designer: Alaia on Lagerfeld and Wintour, Armani on Prada and Dolce & Gabbana

The latest fashion trend isn’t necessarily happening on runways, or even in the stock markets, but in the media. While designers are notoriously fickle when it comes to how their collections are covered, with age there apparently comes a lack of concern over how thoughts on competitors are presented.

Don't expect any Alaia/Lagerfeld collaborations any time soon


Azzedine Alaia‘s recent confirmation that he’d been offered (and rejected) the head job at Dior got people talking, but apparently the designer wasn’t done dishing. In an interview with Virginie magazine, the septuagenarian designer didn’t hold back on his opinions of fellow iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld or Anna Wintour, the reigning queen of fashion media.

On Karl Lagerfeld

“I don’t like his fashion, his spirit, his attitude. It’s too much caricature. Karl Lagerfeld never touched a pair of scissors in his life. That doesn’t mean that he’s not great, but he’s part of another system. He has capacity. One day he does photography, the next he does advertisements for Coca-Cola. I would rather die than see my face in a car advertisement. We don’t do the same work. And I think that he is not doing a favor to young stylists who might think it works that way. They’re going to fall before they retire.”

On Anna Wintour

“I said it before. She runs the business (Vogue) very well, but not the fashion part. When I see how she is dressed, I don’t believe in her tastes one second. I can say it loudly! She hasn’t photographed my work in years even if I am a best seller in the U.S. and I have 140 square meters at Barneys. American women love me; I don’t need her support at all. Anna Wintour doesn’t deal with pictures; she is just doing PR and business, and she scares everybody. But when she sees me, she is the scared one. [Laughs.] Other people think like me, but don’t say it because they are afraid that Vogue won’t photograph them. Anyway, who will remember Anna Wintour in the history of fashion? No one. Take Diana Vreeland, she is remembered because she was so chic. What she did with the magazine was great, with Avedon and all the great photographers. Vogue remains while its fashion editors come and go.”

Well then, tell us how you really feel Mr. Alaia.

It seems like he wasn’t the only designer who felt like opening up; Giorgio Armani made comments to the Italian press about the recent Prada and Dolce & Gabbana men’s collections, calling them ridiculous looking and saying no man would ever actually wear them. Armani said “fashion today is in the hands of the banks and of the stock market and not of their owners,” in scolding the press for not being more critical of collections. He also took a thinly veiled swipe at the recently public Prada by saying his company won’t be going public anytime soon because it “is independent and doesn’t have debts, and that his clothes make men look more handsome and elegant.” {the Cut/NY Mag}

It’s worth noting that this is the same person who uninvited the New York Times’ Cathy Horyn from his Fall/Winter 2008 show for the tone of a review that he found to be too critical. While it’s refreshing to hear unvarnished perspectives in an industry where journalists who do actually try to practice journalism through criticism or investigation are uninvited from shows, and publications have advertising budgets threatened, we can’t see the quips making a huge difference.

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