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CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN?: Is Azzedine Alaïa the latest designer to join the Avenue Montaigne crowd in Paris? Not precisely. But rumor has it the designer is in discussions to open a boutique at 5 Rue de Marignan, a stone’s throw from the tony tree-lined avenue that is home to designer stores including Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, Prada, Valentino, Chanel and Akris. It is understood Alaïa would use the upper floors of the building for offices. Reached on Monday, an Alaïa spokesman said he could not confirm the information and declined further comment.
Famous for toiling away at all hours at his sprawling headquarters in the Marais, France, Alaïa also operates a discreet boutique there. Customers must buzz to gain entrance to the unit at 7 Rue de Moussy, which has no window display, but a glitzy shoe department designed by his buddy Marc Newson, the industrial designer. Alaïa has been slow to develop a retail network. Instead, he has forged strong ties with key wholesale accounts, including Barneys New York in America. Founded in Paris in 1983, Alaïa is now owned by luxury group Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, parent of Cartier, Chloé, Dunhill and other brands.