Alakazia of Le Chapeau Designs Spreads His “Plumes” at Birds of a Feather EM & CO Fashion Installation During LA Fashion WeekBy Kaylene Peoples | May 4th, 2011 | Category: Articles, Interviews and Reviews, Fashion | No Comments »
“I always said that hats would always be the final chapter of my life,” noted hat designer Alakazia. “My mom made hats!”
Born in Scotland, Alakazia has lived in some 40 countries to date. His mother was from Africa, and his father was from India. In Paris, he worked with Ungaro, Valentino, and Armani. He is also an incredible illustrator. He recently self-published his first book. Seven children and ten grandchildren later, Alakazia has ventured into a new and very long-awaited chapter in his life, designing hats. But not just any hats; these chapeaux are one-of-a-kind, handmade, real pieces of art.
“Everything I do when it comes to hats has to do with my mom. My mom designed hats for 40-some odd years. So I grew up with it, and I knew it was going to be a part of my life. I started it at the latter chapters of my creative life because I wanted to do something I was very passionate about.” –Alakazia
When asked, “Why feathers?” Alakazia explained how he always had a fascination with birds and especially exotic birds, of which he owns several. He has traveled the world and has spent a small fortune looking for exotic birds and purchasing feathers. After returning to America, he created his first couture collection called Birds of a Feather in 2007. Making a huge splash in 2009 during Downtown LA fashion week at Moca’s Geffen, alongside famous LA designers Eduardo Lucero, martinMARTIN, and attended by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Alakazia showcased his inventive French-inspired collection of hats. During LA Fashion Week, March 16, 2011, I had the privilege of seeing his newest collection of couture hats up close.
These feather-themed hats were inspired by “. . . a bird in flight; a babbling brook; a child’s flight of fancy; a work of art; the silhouette of dreams; the beat of a song. Simply, elements of life itself,” says Alakazia in an EM&CO interview. The models wore black leotards and were live mannequins, adding to the set created by Eveline Morel of EM & CO. The event featured a live DJ, cocktails and hors d’hoeuvres, as well as live jazz performance by yours truly. Most of the hats were fedoras made popular in the 30s and have steadily made a comeback recently. They ranged from checkered to felt, accented with feathers. There were some real highlights, though. The beautiful chapeau avec des plumes blanches and chapeau avec des plumes noir, covered with exotic feathers creating a dramatic yet old world/old Hollywood appeal and defining a statement that the hat should wear you, not the other way around!