London museum to honor Tunisian fashion giant Alaia

Azzedine Alaia
Updated 17 December 2017
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London museum to honor Tunisian fashion giant Alaia

LONDON: French-Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaia will be honored by London’s Design Museum with a major exhibition next year following his death on Nov. 18 at the age of 77.
“Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier” will run from May 10 to Oct. 7, showcasing more than 60 pieces personally selected by the iconic designer.
“Azzedine Alaia was recognized throughout his life as a master couturier who expressed the timeless beauty of the female form in the most refined degree of haute couture,” the museum said.
“The Design Museum will now present this unique exhibition planned by Alaia himself, exploring his passion and energy for fashion as he himself intended it to be seen.”
Alaia was born to a farming family in Tunisia in 1940 and studied sculpture at the fine arts school in Tunis before working at a modest neighborhood dressmaker’s shop.
He rose to fame in the 1980s, refusing to march to the beat of international fashion weeks and instead releasing his collections in his own time, with scant concern for publicity.
He became known as the King of Cling for his form-fitting gowns.
“I like women,” he told AFP in a 2013 interview.
“I never think about doing new things, about being creative, but about making clothing that will make women beautiful.”


Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

Updated 22 May 2018
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Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

PARIS: The hotly hyped “British jazz invasion” has been the toast of international scenesters for some months now, with breathy adjective-heavy sprawls penned on both sides of the Atlantic paying tribute to a fresh generation of musos who grew up not in the conservatoires but the clubs, channelling the grit and groove of grime into a distinctly hip, 21st century strain of freewheeling, DIY improvised music.

Now the Arab world has its own outpost in the form of Chip Wickham, a UK-born flautist, saxophonist and producer whose second album grew out of extended stints teaching in the GCC. “Shamal Wind” takes its name from the Gulf’s primal weather patterns, and there’s a distinctly meditative, Middle Eastern vibe to the title track, a slow-burning, moody vamp, peppered with percussive trills, with hints of Yusef Lateef to be found in Wickham’s wandering woodwind musings.

There’s rather less goatee-stroking to be found across the four further up-tempo cuts, which swap soul-searching for soul-jazz, soaked in the breezy bop of a vintage Blue Note release. Recorded over a hot summer in Madrid, a heady Latin pulse drives first single, “Barrio 71” — championed by the likes of Craig Charles — with Spanish multi-percussionist David el Indio steaming up a block party beat framing Wickham’s gutsy workout on baritone sax.

Having previously worked with electronic acts, including Nightmares on Wax and Jimpster, one imagines the dancefloor was a key stimulus behind Wickham’s rhythmically dense, but harmonically spare compositional approach. Phil Wilkinson’s sheer, thumped piano chords drive the relentless nod of second single “Snake Eyes,” Wickham’s raspy flute floating somewhere overhead, readymade to be skimmed off for the anticipated remix market.

In truth, Manchester-raised Wickham is both too thoughtful, and too thoughtless, to truly belong to the London-brewed jazz invasion — Shamal Wind yo-yos between meditative meandering and soulful strutting with a wilful disrespect for trend.