Azzedine Alaïa Reportedly Turned Down Dior Job

Photo: Getty Images
 Alaïa, above at a Dior show, reportedly turned down a job with the fashion house.

For all the speculative frenzy that had the fashion industry in its clutches in February, the buzz about who might take over at Dior has been awfully faint of late.

With rumor holding that the company won’t announce the new designer until the fall and all of the candidates (Riccardo Tisci, Haider Ackermann, Hedi Slimane, Sarah Burton, Alber Elbaz, Marc Jacobs…) thoroughly discussed, all seemed quiet on that front… until a little bit of dish like this comes along.

According to the Financial Times’ Vanessa Friedman, there was one other name in the John Galliano replacement ring—one that hasn’t gotten nearly the gossip time of the aforementioned: Azzedine Alaïa.

“I had heard whispers, but he just confirmed it,” Friedman wrote in a story posted June 20. She describes Alaïa as “one of the last hands-on couturiers, beloved by his atelier. Part of the conundrum facing Dior is they need a designer who can work with the couture, and most youngsters, brought up on ready-to-wear, don’t have the know-how.” (Alaïa actually attended Dior's couture show in January, but of course that was before news broke about John Galliano's infamous anti-Semitic rant.)

Potential problems with the arrangement? Alaïa refuses to stay on the industry’s feverish schedule, instead designing, showing and delivering his collection when he’s ready—an arrangement that suits him but is hardly conducive to working for a huge house like Dior. He’s also partially owned by Richemont, an LVMH competitor.

Another point that Friedman leaves out is that Alaïa has already worked for Dior—and was fired. In a 2009 conversation with Stephanie Seymour for Interview, Alaïa remembered his fashion beginnings in Paris: “I met my best friend, Leila, whose mother had connections to clients of Christian Dior in Paris, and eventually someone asked if I could come work there. I got the job. But when I arrived, it was the end of the Algerian War. After five days there they said to me, ‘You can't work here any longer. You're a foreigner.’”

According to Friedman, however, Alaïa “wasn’t interested” in taking the Dior job when asked. “The story of what happened with John was a sad story, he said when I asked him, and he didn’t want to be part of the next chapter.”

But who will? Stay tuned…

In the meantime, check out the Dior Fall 2011 collection.