Keeping The Faith
Female Singapore|September 2021
When you’re tasked to carry on the legacy of one of modern fashion’s most revered and revolutionary womenswear designers in the face of an industry in flux, sometimes the bravest move forward is to go back to its fundamentals. Gordon ng reports on the debut of pieter mulier at the house of alaia.

Belgian designer Pieter Mulier debuts at Alaia with a collection that revives many of the house’s classic codes – the cowl-neck hoodies, body-sculpting or baring fabrics, and corsets – for a younger, streetwear-weaned clientele without losing reverence for the brand’s founder.

What is courage? As far as fashion designer hires are concerned, it’s often been the conviction and irreverence to take over an established house and treat it – as the late Karl Lagerfeld once said of taking on an institution – “like a whore”. That’s certainly been the modus operandi for many creative directors who have been appointed at legacy houses – and often ones with illustrious histories of couture – since the 1990s; see McQueen and Galliano at Givenchy.

That’s not however the case for Pieter Mulier who made his debut on July 4 as creative director of Alaia. For the Belgian designer who was previously better known as Raf Simons’ long-time right-hand, reverence was the revolutionary approach. The show notes came in the form of a letter penned to the late Azzedine Alaia and signed off by Mulier; an ode of sorts in which half the lines began with a “thank you” – for the inspiration Alaia had offered and for the “peerless adulation of the feminine figure” that underpinned all of his work, for example.

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