No one can say that Cher Horowitz didn’t put Azzedine Alaïa on the map. At least in the sartorially ignorant United States. The highly publicized news of her mugging spread throughout L.A. almost instantaneously. Or as instantaneously as it could in a pre-internet (or rather pre-internet mass used by everyone) world. Her mugger, whose name was ultimately revealed to be 34-year-old Joseph Perinelli, one of the few Italian Americans who had made it all the way to California instead of just stopping at New York, was cruel and insensitive enough toward fashion to actually force Cher down onto the ground in her form-fitting red Alaïa dress, which wasn’t just a challenge emotionally but also physically because of the tightness of the garment. There was a reason, after all, that he had early on been dubbed “The King of Cling.” Of course, only a man could be nicknamed as such and not have it infer a negative connotation of tending to become overly attached. But Alaïa was just that, primarily to his sister–the one who spurred him to get interested in fashion in the first place, sort of like an inverse Gianni/Donatella situation. It was, in fact, her death that caused him to become so dormant in the mid-90s, just when Cher started to pick up on the value of a designer now so rare.
And though Tai’s little brush with death at the Westside Pavilion briefly took hold of the horror Cher endured at almost being unable to salvage her Alaïa at the dry cleaner’s after soiling it on the oil-stained pavement of that liquor store parking lot, the way she risked her life to attempt preserving the integrity of the dress was never forgotten by the designer, who, weeks after reading the news report in the Palisadian Post, specifically updated his Will to request that Cher speak about her passion for him at his funeral.
So when the time came, a week after his death on November 18th, 2017, Cher wasn’t entirely surprised at having been contacted by Alaïa’s Arabic Executor, who she developed something of a crush on in her newly single status after finally extricating herself from Josh’s broke ass. He had also gotten a bit saggy (particularly in the glutes), as most men of the Caucasian persuasion are prone to. Thusly, Cher was feeling a sense of attraction that was likely heightened over the prospect of experiencing the larger girth of an uncircumcised peen. But one supposes that’s neither here nor there. In any case, after Lucy opened the door to find Faiz there with his copy of the Will to go over with Cher, he was led through the foyer and into the dining area, whereupon he was brought a bottle of Perrier without being asked if he wanted it or not. Cher appeared roughly twenty minutes later wearing, by pure happenstance, a virginal white knee-length Alaïa with peekaboo vertical holes down the bodice. Faiz’s eyes alighted at the sight of this, familiar with the entire Alaïa arsenal, and knowing for absolute sure upon seeing Cher that she was the correct choice to deliver the eulogy.
“Hello?” Cher inquired.
Faiz arose from his seat to shake her hand. “Miss Horowitz, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I come here to you today to ask you to fulfill a dying wish of Mr. Azzedine Alaïa.”
Cher looked as though she had just seen Tai wearing overalls and a Marvin the Martian shirt as her lightly blushed face went totally white. “Wait, are you telling me that Alaïa has, like, bequeathed me something? A custom frock maybe?”
Faiz shook his head. “No, it’s something far more important and meaningful than that.” He motioned for her to sit in the white-fur upholstered seat across from him. Cher had done a lot of redecorating since her father died. Cher obeyed the motion, gracefully “falling” onto the chair in eager anticipation of whatever this news was going to be.
“So, what’s this about?”
“Alaïa was very impressed with your passion for his work. That story about you in 1995 stuck with him always. Even after you perhaps naively chose to align yourself with Karl Lagerfeld for that ad campaign in 2003. As you know, Alaïa found both Lagerfeld and Wintour rather detestable caricatures of the industry. But still, he couldn’t fault you for succumbing to their charms.”
“In any event, you have been requested to give the eulogy at his funeral this week. It will be in Tunis, of course. It wouldn’t be right to have it anywhere else other than his birthplace. We are all damned to be saddled with our birthplace in death.”
“That’s a cheery thought for me. I love L.A.!”
Faiz smiled. “So will you do it?”
“I mean, obvi, I’m gonna do it. It’s going to be pretty difficult to come up with a speech on such short notice, but it’s nothing I haven’t done before. Maybe you’ve heard of my legendary commentary about the Haiti-ans? It moved people to tears. Well, except for Ambular because I think she had tear duct removal surgery so she could stop crying every time some boy dumped her.”
“Who is this Ambular?”
“I like you more and more, Faiz.”
Days later, wearing the very same outfit that attracted Alaïa’s attention in the first place, Cher stepped off her private plane at the Tunis-Carthage International Airport. She brought no date with her, feeling it would somehow be in poor taste. This event was about fashion, not arm candy. And even though Christian wanted to come (as if! Why would Cher take someone she couldn’t bone even if he did dress better than her?–especially since he dressed better than her, actually), Cher declined sanctioning his self-made invitation.
As she approached the podium to face the expectant faces, Cher took a piece of paper out of her clutch (she still believed in the tangibility of holding something in her hand while she read). Opening her mouth to speak from the page, she thought better of it and went from the most timeless accessory of all: the heart.
“So like, my first experience with Azzedine was when I got a hold of the French Elle with the Nicole Crassat editorial about him. I think I was at a friend’s house who had a French mother or something. And this old issue was just lying around when I was like twelve years old or something. And I just remember being like, ‘Yeah. I want my body to look this sculpted.’ And I went right home and asked Daddy to get me one for Christmas. Not knowing any better, he told his secretary to fulfill my request. Which made me the first and only girl ever probably to wear an Alaïa at the junior high level. I just knew, from the moment I started walking down the halls in that pleated, Middle Eastern patterned dress that I was special. That I had a fashion sense that no one else ever could. So I want to say thank you to Alaïa. If the occasion arose now, I would refuse to get down on the ground for that guy. I think he didn’t really have the pelotas to shoot, you know? Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, Alaïa is, like, a way important designer.”
With that, Cher stepped down from the platform, got into her driver’s car and returned to L.A. where she invested in a boutique on Rodeo (run by Lucy, who still retained her cleaning duties as well) featuring her favorite picks from his increasingly hard to come by collections. Since Alaïa’s death, there has been an unprecedented number of t-shirts created and bought with the aphorism, “Alaïa is, like, a way important designer.” And even though this might be one of the most major aspects to spring from his legacy, Cher would never agree to sell them at her store. “It would be totally tacky. I’ve learned a little something about taste after donating all my old 90s clothes to the Puerto Rico Relief Fund, thank you very much.”