Farida Khelfa: From Muse to Visionary
An ode to the visionary, Farida Khelfa. Delving into the work of iconic model and muse of the 80s and 90s and her recent work as a filmmaker.
Farida Khelfa by Jean Paul Goude for Alaïa F/W 1985

Following a prolific career from Model to Muse, Couture Director at Jean Paul Gaultier, and Ambassador of revived fashion house Schiaparelli, Farida Khelfa’s most recent endeavors lie in the realms of film-making. Born to Algerian parents in France, she spent her formative years surrounded by Parisian fashion and nightlife. As a model, she graced the runways of the most renowned designers of the 1980s, notably Jean-Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa, and Thierry Mugler.

 

Azzedine Alaïa and Farida Khelfa

Personifying a spirit that flirted with rebellion, Farida further went on to play muse to photographer Jean-Paul Goude and forged a life-long friendship with Louboutin. It was inspired by her experiences in fashion that the icon later pursued a career in acting, embracing a number of roles in the mid-1980s. In 1995, she joined Azzedine Alaïa’s design studio, and in 2002, Farida became the head of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Haute Couture salons. In recent years, she returned to the world of cinema, where her creative sensibilities led her to film direction itself.

By Jean-Paul Goude

Her debut documentary showcased the success story of Jean Paul Gaultier. “He immediately said yes, and I was so taken by vertigo, I nearly fell down,” she told Arab News. Though having known Gaultier since she was 16, the French-Arab beauty (who was discovered by one of his staffers while she was dancing at Paris’s Le Palace) was propelled by the observation that no one had ever portrayed the designer accurately. “He’s always smiling, but there is a deeper side that he never shows.” (See ‘Jean Paul Gaultier or the Shattered Codes, 2012). 

 

Wearing Jean Paul Gaultier Shot by The Bardos
Gaultier and Farida

Other docu-films naturally followed, featuring subjects as divergent as the artistic youth of Tunisia after the revolution, along with a reportage on the passion of shoe designer Christian Louboutin. She accompanied him to Egypt, Los Angeles, and London during the making of the documentary. Alongside this, Farida’s force continues as she plans to continue work as a documentary producer in order to show the world the unseen side of Arab women. “It’s a project on women in the Middle East,” she noted. “A portrait of different women from the region. I really enjoyed doing this project because when you are facing reality, it’s always fascinating. In the western world, we have a lot of clichés about Arab women. So I want to hear them talk. And it’s very interesting”. 

Farida Khelfa: From Muse to Visionary
An ode to the visionary, Farida Khelfa. Delving into the work of iconic model and muse of the 80s and 90s and her recent work as a filmmaker.
Farida Khelfa by Jean Paul Goude for Alaïa F/W 1985

Following a prolific career from Model to Muse, Couture Director at Jean Paul Gaultier, and Ambassador of revived fashion house Schiaparelli, Farida Khelfa’s most recent endeavors lie in the realms of film-making. Born to Algerian parents in France, she spent her formative years surrounded by Parisian fashion and nightlife. As a model, she graced the runways of the most renowned designers of the 1980s, notably Jean-Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa, and Thierry Mugler.

 

Azzedine Alaïa and Farida Khelfa

Personifying a spirit that flirted with rebellion, Farida further went on to play muse to photographer Jean-Paul Goude and forged a life-long friendship with Louboutin. It was inspired by her experiences in fashion that the icon later pursued a career in acting, embracing a number of roles in the mid-1980s. In 1995, she joined Azzedine Alaïa’s design studio, and in 2002, Farida became the head of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Haute Couture salons. In recent years, she returned to the world of cinema, where her creative sensibilities led her to film direction itself.

By Jean-Paul Goude

Her debut documentary showcased the success story of Jean Paul Gaultier. “He immediately said yes, and I was so taken by vertigo, I nearly fell down,” she told Arab News. Though having known Gaultier since she was 16, the French-Arab beauty (who was discovered by one of his staffers while she was dancing at Paris’s Le Palace) was propelled by the observation that no one had ever portrayed the designer accurately. “He’s always smiling, but there is a deeper side that he never shows.” (See ‘Jean Paul Gaultier or the Shattered Codes, 2012). 

 

Wearing Jean Paul Gaultier Shot by The Bardos
Gaultier and Farida

Other docu-films naturally followed, featuring subjects as divergent as the artistic youth of Tunisia after the revolution, along with a reportage on the passion of shoe designer Christian Louboutin. She accompanied him to Egypt, Los Angeles, and London during the making of the documentary. Alongside this, Farida’s force continues as she plans to continue work as a documentary producer in order to show the world the unseen side of Arab women. “It’s a project on women in the Middle East,” she noted. “A portrait of different women from the region. I really enjoyed doing this project because when you are facing reality, it’s always fascinating. In the western world, we have a lot of clichés about Arab women. So I want to hear them talk. And it’s very interesting”. 

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