Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Legendary Fashion Muse Returns to the Catwalk

Style Icon: Farida Khelfa

Farida captured by Ellen von Unwerth in Alaïa, for Madame Figaro; Khelfa on the runway during Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2011 show for Hermès.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Ms. Farida Khelfa,” announced Tom Ford, as the legendary Parisian muse stepped out onto the podium at the designer’s first women’s wear show since 2004. That Ford should have picked Ms. Khelfa to open his show amongst a cast of “many of the world’s most inspirational women,” is no coincidence.

Farida Khelfa’s résumé doesn’t read like that of a typical fashion model. While working the door of the Bains Douches, the fabled 80’s Paris nightclub that was a haunt of both designers and supermodels alike, she caught the eye of Jean Paul Goude, the photographer and art director. She became his muse and proceeded to spend a good part of the decade collaborating with him on creative projects and advertising campaigns. Shortly afterwards Goude introduced Farida to Azzedine Alaïa, who hired her on the spot as a model and muse at his atelier. With her height and curves she was the perfect canvas for the designer’s slender body conscious creations. Thus Khelfa became the first woman of Algerian descent to have a successful modeling career.

She went on to walk the runway for other designers including Jean Paul Gaultier; eventually becoming the Directrice of his couture studio until 2004, when she decided to resume an acting career begun in the mid-Eighties. Today she still maintains a close friendship with both Alaïa and Jean Paul Gaultier. Recently she appeared in Gaultier’s final collection for the house of Hermès during Paris fashion week; insuring that this eternal muse and style icon will continue to inspire a new generation of tastemakers.
Farida Khelfa and Gaultier take a bow at the end of the designer’s ready-to-wear Spring 1984 show; 27 years later, Gaultier asked Farida to return to the catwalk to close his final collection for Hermès’ Spring 2011 show.

Farida with Azzedine Alaïa at a Paris reception in 1999; During an unguarded moment in his atelier, the master with his muses Farida and Naomi Campbell; Farida and Alaïa in the late 80’s in the designer’s Marais studio.

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