One of our neighbors is the famous couturier Azzedine Alaia, the minuscule “architect of the body’ as he’s often called because he creates his garments directly on his models, whereas someone like Christian LaCroix dashes off a sketch which he tosses at a trained team of seamstresses who interpret and realize even his most far-fetched inspirations. Alaia works sometimes late into the night, his mouth full of pins, as he drapes and pulls and turns and twists and dances around the dais like Pygmalion dressing an already transformed and fully alive Galatea.
I remember one night when the Galatea was a ravishing, pouting, smiling teenager, Naomi Campbell, who would later become the world’s most famous model but who then was just a sumptuously beautiful, shy English adolescent. She kept turning and turning as Azzedine ordered her to do, though when he stuck a pin in her she shouted lustily and tapped the tiny maestro on the head.
That night the chubby, charming American painter Julian S…