Taking Time

Release Date: 
March 31, 2020
Rizzoli Ex Libris
Reviewed by: 

Taking Time is absolutely not solely about fashion, nor is this a glossy photography book centered on the oeuvre of the late great Azzedine Alaïa. This is an intellectual, if not cerebral, recounting of kitchen conversations that took place chez Alaïa and all have one common thread: the concept of time.

To be blunt, this is no light read but instead a highly philosophical and rather high browed dissertation provided by a number of artists who inhabited the inner circle of the late designer. The artists come from the worlds of fine arts, dance, architecture, literature, film, music, and dance to name a few, and they all have the opportunity to discuss the “acceleration of time and its significance” and how it affects them in each of their chosen careers and everyday lives on a physical and mental level.

“Each of these interviews is like a couture dress made of words. They are to be looked upon with admiration and veneration, for they already belong fully to the history of couture, of fashion, and of the culture as well as of their own field, whether theater, film, art, design, poetry or music.”

This unique book of conversations might be described as philosophical, existential, and somewhat professorial/scholarly in tone. What the author/contributors neglect to mention is that the late Mr. Alaïa did not speak a word of English, which is rather odd considering the content and the highly refined text of the book . . . if in fact this book was translated it was done extremely well.

Taking Time is most definitely a niche book that requires an extraordinarily inquisitive mind. Each interview is painstakingly recounted with Mr. Alaïa present, who always seems to bring the interview/conversation back to his world of fashion. This reader found the book to be a very slow read. It is a very difficult book to offer as a blanket recommendation to a majority of fashion readers.