Maison Alaïa: Pieter Mulier makes a debut full of panache and punch

Translated by

Marguerite Capelle

Published on

Jul 6, 2021

It has always been clear that it would be difficult to take over from Azzedine Alaïa. But Pieter Mulier unveiled a first striking and sculptural collection, in front of the historic headquarters of the house where a handpicked public encouraged him, installed in the street on folding wooden chairs: creations that earned him a standing ovation well deserved.

Maison Alaïa – Photo:

Pieter Mulier shows the greatest respect for the brand’s DNA throughout this collection, but without ever showing subservience. He plays with many Alaïa references: stretch crepe, perforated leather, sculptural evening dresses, Amazonian leggings or Venetian blind-style sheaths, but reinterpreting them in his own way.

Her cocktail dresses stretched like leotards and finished off with matching caps were all quite sensational… while her stretch wool flamenco dresses, finished with feathers below the knees, shone in their splendor.

Alaïa has never created for the holy nitouches or for plants grown in glasshouses, and neither does Pieter Mulier. In the continuity of Azzedine, the creator scrolls his tops like powerful heroines. Starting with a quartet of beauties who melted the bitumen in a semi-transparent sheath, like a caress on the body, to follow on cleverly constructed vests and finished with hoods, Grace Jones style, or a denim jumpsuit with shawl collar, quite daring, and superb feathered coats of movie goddesses.

Pieter Mulier also embellishes the whole with some great accessories: giant tote bags in rawhide, with braided leather finishes, or even cool half-moon shoulder bags.

Maison Alaïa – Photo:

If he was known for his friendship with the most famous supermodels, such as Yasmin Le Bon, Linda Evangelista or Naomi Campbell, all present to inaugurate his final show, at the end of his career Azzedine Alaïa mainly paraded unknown local models. , or women of character he admired.

Pieter Mulier, on the other hand, used a handpicked cast, without looking at the expense: Mica Argañaraz, Rianne Von Rompaey or Liya Kebede and Natasha Poly were there. It is clear that the luxury group Richemont that owns the house, as well as its CEO, the elegant Myriam Serrano with her Olympian calm, have the budget to make the designer’s vision a reality.

Quite eccentric choice, the tops began by walking along a sidewalk lined with chains for about fifty meters, before entering the hundred-meter-long podium installed on rue de Moussy, in the heart of the Marais.

Another flaw, the rather annoying lighting, which forced most of the spectators to discover the models against the light… not very clever, at the time of Instagram. Oddly enough, the best lighting manager in French fashion, Thierry Dreyfus, sat in the front row, even though he attended the show as a fan, not a producer. His talent was lacking at this parade.

Maison Alaïa – Photo:

But these are only minor criticisms of an extremely mastered demonstration by Pieter Mulier. This parade marked the historic debut of the Belgian-born designer as artistic director in his own right. During his remarkable career, he was Raf Simons’ right-hand man in Milan, Paris and New York – at Jil Sander, Christian Dior and Calvin Klein.

Everything wasn’t quite finished – for example the frilly, aubergine-colored crepe evening gowns were a bit too thick, as were the stretch cyclists paired with metallic tops, or the clogs with studded heels.

But the taboo question, even before the appearance of models, was whether Pieter Mulier would live up to his number one place. From what we have seen, he should do very well in this house, while fully respecting the work of the founder.

Maison Alaïa – Photo:

Before the parade, Pieter Mulier had placed a letter on the seat of each guest, in which he sang the praises of Azzedine: “[…] for your unmistakable way of adulating the feminine figure. You were a sculptor, a genius of the hand. Your fashion had a heart and a rare intelligence: the marriage of precision, modernity and poetry “.

Asked how he felt after these debuts, the designer replied: “I feel happy and relieved. And delighted that everyone has seen the letter. I wanted to highlight the fundamental respect I have for this unique house, and its unique creator “.

During the final, Pieter Mulier received a thunderous applause, from a front row which included many old friends of the house – from the sacred monster of architecture Jean Nouvel to Sidney Toledano, from LVMH, or Pier Paolo Piccioli, from Valentino.

“Magnificent! I think Azzedine would have liked this collection very much. And me too, because I know that with Pieter in the creation, the Alaïa house has a bright future”, enthuses Christoph Von Weyhe, long-time partner of the claw.

The latter revealed to that the designer invited him to come and take a look at the collection being created. But he refused to do so. “I told Peter that I would rather wait to see the end result. And I’m glad I waited,” he said with a wink.

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