Paris… the Marais, 4eme arrondisement… the Rue du Parc-Royal… I stood before grand, heavy doors. A sleek intercom simply labelled in black type.

I entered drifting up the stairs, whimsy took hold and I stood at the top enraptured with my surrounds it was if time stood still, as I gazed in wonderment at the vast, marvellous space before me, filled with sensuous fur coats, the finest apparel and delicately crafted footwear atop of equally beautiful, trunk-like shoe boxes. I had arrived at the premises of ALAIA. And for some reason, it was no surprise to me when a statuesque great dane strode right past. It was here at this beautiful French salon that my appreciation of Azzedine Alaia truly began to unfold.

From his humble beginning, the always elusory Alaia has catered to a select clientele. Since launching his first ready-to-wear collection in 1980, Alaia has been coined the †King of Cling’, thanks to his penchant for stretch and draping and still enjoys commercial success on his ready-to-wear collections.

A prevailing fashion force, Alaia has created ‘a great blueprint behind his business which a lot of young designers might want to look at as an ideal. No seasonal shows, no advertising, no freestanding boutique network, very little retail outlets and product that is about its own consistent identity, not the whims of a fashion moment.’ Perhaps designers of today should look at Alaia’s approach and unfailing success as inspiration, especially during this economic climate so as not to become merely a fleeting presence of today’s zeitgeist.

The ever elusive label has created another exquisite collection. Without reason other than to divulge my appreciation of his genius, take a peek at the Alaia Spring 09 look book featuring model, Kasia Struss, photographed by Willy Vanderperre and styled by Joe McKenna.

See Images via Fashionologie