PARIS — “We found amazing things; he had all the books on Madeleine Vionnet, books that nobody else has, hidden up in his apartment. He had treasures,” said Carla Sozzani over coffee on Thursday in the fabled kitchen of the Maison Alaïa HQ in the Marais district here.
Flanked by Azzedine Alaïa’s life partner, painter Christoph von Weyhe, with Alaïa’s massive St. Bernard, Didine, at their feet, Sozzani was taking a break from overseeing preparations for the opening of the Maison Alaïa bookstore, La Librairie, on Saturday.
Located just off the kitchen, the store gives onto the courtyard of 18 rue de la Verrerie, the house in which the late couturier lived and worked, and where he envisioned his museum. A café will open in January.
The space used to house a small boutique run by Alaïa’s twin sister, Hafida, selling a mix of vintage pieces and creations by the Tunisian-born designer, who died in late 2017.
Members of the Alaïa team moved about the store area dotted with unpacked boxes of books. Lying on a table, waiting to be positioned on the end wall, was a giant portrait of the designer by his friend, artist and director Julian Schnabel, made of broken plates.