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presentation of the book taking time of Azzedine Alaïa with Donatien Grau, preface by Naomi Campbell

bookshop of the azzedine alaïa foundation

Azzedine Alaïa has been hailed by The New York Times as “the greatest modern couturier.” In addition to being known as
the couturier who first championed what wasn’t yet known as slow-fashion, and took his time creating timeless works of art that were designed to serve the life of women, Alaïa was also famous for always welcoming his friends at his home and atelier on rue de Moussy. There he hosted an extraordinary cast of models, writers, poets, artists, designers, architects, actors, gallerists, curators, film directors, opera singers, and ballet dancers. One day, he decided to invite them all to engage in fascinating discussions about the accelerated pace of time and its significance to each person; to fight the destructive acceleration of
our lives. This is TAKING TIME, his manifesto, a collection of never-before-published conversations between some of the most celebrated minds across several generations, about time—an increasingly valuable commodity in twenty-first-century society.

TAKING TIME presents these conversations that took place around Alaïa’s kitchen table, conceived and moderated by him and his close friend and collaborator, cultural critic, and museum executive Donatien Grau. Highlights include:
- Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson discuss time as the first ergonomic product
- Julian Schnabel and Jean-Claude Carrière consider it in respect to art and film - Robert Wilson and Isabelle Huppert speak about the importance of time in theater and acting

Contributors also include poet Adonis and filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky; architects Jean Nouvel and Claude Parent; writers Michel Butor and Tristan Garcia; philosopher Emanuele Coccia and fashion legend Carla Sozzani; opera singer Vittorio Grigolo and artist Alexandre Singh; the first supermodel, Bettina, and business executive Jérôme Batout; designer Ronan Bouroullec and gallerist Didier Krzentowski; actress Charlotte Rampling and fashion historian Olivier Saillard.
This blending of personalities, lives, and time periods has not been recorded in any other contemporary instance.
As Naomi Campbell writes in her foreword, “When you see the people Azzedine has collected in this book, you will understand how expansive his mind was. He had a vision beyond clothing. So many collaborations happened in Papa’s kitchen: people gathering and meeting each other, finding a way to work together. Not forced—it just happened that way. He still is, now more than ever, an inspiration.”

Grau states in his beautifully written preface, “Each of these interviews is like a couture dress made of words. They are to be looked upon with admiration and veneration, for they already belong fully to the history of couture, of fashion, and of culture as well as of their own field, whether theater, film, art, design, poetry, or music. They should also be regarded with aspiration,
for they truly are a call to be aware of, to be at ease in, and perhaps to change time.” The reader will discover anecdotes, meet some of world’s biggest influencers, and uncover ways of appreciating and managing time that are helpful and will embolden them to enjoy life to the fullest. Grau sums it up best, “Azzedine took time for us. Now let’s take time with him.”
TAKING TIME is Azzedine Alaïa’s last testament and a beautifully curated collection of thoughts and words.
It is a very timely statement, as well as a unique event in the whole history of fashion. It is published simultaneously in English with Rizzoli and in French with Actes Sud.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Azzedine Alaïa (1935-2017) was a grand couturier, a member of the pantheon of fashion history
in the leagues of Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret, Christian Dior, Gabrielle Chanel, and Cristobel Balenciaga. Donatien Grau is a scholar and writer. He is currently the head of contemporary programs at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and was the advisor to Azzedine Alaïa for exhibitions and programs at the Galerie Alaïa, the couturier’s not-for-profit exhibition space from 2014 until Alaïa’s passing on November 18, 2017. Naomi Campbell is a world-renowned fashion model, entrepreneur, and actress.

Daniel Melamud is an editor at Rizzoli New York.