‘I make clothes, women make fashion,’ said Azzedine Alaïa famously. He was the fashion world’s outsider, the rebel couturier, some would argue the last real couturier for he made everything himself and to perfection. Alaïa oversaw the construction of each and every one of his commissioned garments. He was highly skilled as a designer and technician, and he would almost always allow the material, often advanced technical fabrics, to speak out and dictate design. His work seldom followed trends – instead these are sculptural designs, wearable timeless works of art that embraced the female figure, hugging its curves and accentuating its beauty.
The Design Museum in London sets out to celebrate him with Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier (10 May – 07 October 2018). Alaïa was closely involved with the organisation and curation of the exhibition prior to his death in November. He worked closely with chief curator of the Groninger Museum Mark Wilson in choosing the 60 outstanding examples of his craft over the course of his career. These include the famous zipped dress, bandage dress, corset belt, stretch body and perforated leather.
The outfits look exquisite here in the main exhibition space at the Design Museum where they are presented simply on mannequins, and displayed alongside screens of various technical material to reveal Alaïa’s love of process. They help divide the periods of his life too, and the play of light explores the drama of these garments. This is a stylish exhibition that stays true to Alaïa’s wish for a narrative that explores his ethos, his life’s work.
Image portrait Azzedine Alaïa © Peter Lindbergh
Image Naomi Campbell and Azzedine Alaia, Paris, 1986 © Arthur Elgort
Image Tina Turner & Azzedine Alaia under the Eiffel Tower by Peter Lindbergh, 1989 © Peter Lindbergh, Paris
All other imges are from the exhibition © Design Talks
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