I had a friend in high school, with square specs and matte brown hair… Dana, I think her name was, straight B student. Every Wednesday, she’d saunter up to Mr Chanen and declare that her assignment is not ready due to ‘writer’s block’. “Yeah, you need to be a writer to have a writer’s block, Dana”, he’d sleepily reply, and for a full semester I’d nurse a crush on the man who’d crushed the annoying girl with the BS excuse. Years later, I sit at my office desk – once a barn door on eBay – pecking a string of words into a blank Word document and deleting it… then writing it again, maybe this time in a different tense, for four full hours.
“You need to be a writer to have a writer’s block, Shini.”
A white canvas, is altogether a liberating and terrifying surface, one that selflessly yields to the artist, the audience, and art itself, yet is highly charged with almost a tangible judgement in its glow. It’s a bit of an asshole colour, when you think about it. Even a crisp white shirt – allegedly the basis of any wardrobe, is ever more a canvas to which flying foods and bicycle grease are attracted. Considering this, Azzedine Alaïa is the master of white.
Dress – Azzedine Alaïa
- Azzedine Alaïa
For Mr Alaïa, white remains a concept referring to light, architecture and rigour. Over decades he would perfect architectural precision* and celebrate the unconditional beauty of the female body, which is his canvas, his white. Just as an Olympian god would fashion a muse out of clay, he would circle his sculpture with his tools of precision (rulers, triangles, pencils…), and base inspiration only on admiration or gratitude for the heroine: active, feminine, exultant and self-confident – goddess of modern times.
The new Alaïa Paris Eau de parfum Blanche, continues this narrative headed by an almond note, followed by the powdery whiff of heliotrope and rounded off with a wealth of vanilla and musk. The bottle: completely transparent, a sensual counterpart to Alaïa Paris Eau de parfum that dons a completely opaque design.
The very notes of Alaïa Paris Eau de parfum Blanche inspire this series of images, shot on a deserted beach on the Scilly isles, the stone under my bare feet powdery with the day’s sand in the wind. The sun hung low, still warm, cloaking the beach like soft fabric. Perhaps Dana and I had it all wrong. To defeat the white one must assume the role of white.
*Those (living under a rock) unfamiliar with the name** may recognise this symbolic laser-cut leather.
**Or “You don’t understand, this is an Alaïa” as Cher Horowitz would wistfully whine on Clueless (1995)