“Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier” – Past, Present and Future

“Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier” – Past, Present and Future

Photography : Style Icon Nat

The expression of art comes in many guises other than in a metaphoric painting or sculpture. What does it take, however, to create wearable art mainly in the world of fashion? Some may say authentic craftsmanship or passion. Personally, it takes these qualities as well as the mind of a genius to create real emotions through creativity, and such a man was the late Azzedine Alaïa. On Wednesday, 9th May, the Design Museum hosted a private preview of “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” before the exhibition’s official opening to the public on Thursday, 10th May. Azzedine Alaïa himself co-curated the exhibition along with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the Groninger Museum. Over 60 powerful garments are on display at the Design Museum until 7th October 2018, “powerful” being the operative word as each piece conjures-up a feeling of self-empowerment.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

"Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier" “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

Close friends of the designer, including Naomi Campbell (Alaïa’s muse), and life partner Christoph Von Weyhe attended the preview to celebrate Alaïa’s life and extraordinary work. Artists Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson, and Kris Ruhs created a series of commissioned architectural screens that serve as a backdrop for the elongated mannequins. The exhibition explores Azzedine Alaïa’s work from the early ‘80s to his very last masterpieces just before his untimely death in November 2017.

“For part of the exhibitions we do, he remakes all the outfits. They’re elongated and custom-fit to the mannequins. He’d been working on so much so the selection is pretty much 90 percent of what he and I discussed.” Says Mark Wilson.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

From a two-year stint in Browns [circa 2003] as a fashion stylist, I discovered the earlier collection of Alaïa which is still trending. His bandage dress, cinched-in white shirt and corset belt remain a signature style of the ready-to-wear collection together with the intricate laser-cut leather bag. All are made to perfection and vehemently demonstrate Azzedine Alaïa’s mission. “My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion.”

The enormity of the Design Museum and futuristic interior pay homage to Alaïa’s archive of timeless classics that are inspired by the future.“He was always thinking about the future…” says Carla Sozzani. The Design Museum valued Alaïa’s work so much that one wall is filled with photographs by Richard Wentworth of the designer at work in his Paris Atelier.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

Alice Black, Co-Director of the Design Museum, gave an inspiring welcome speech after which guests made their way into the exhibition hall. “This was his passion, which consumed him and which he spent all his life doing. He is certainly one of the greatest masters. And that is also what we do, in terms of the Museum. To be able to bring his skills to the UK, in a way that has never been seen before, is very important and shows a different side of fashion to other exhibitions.” Says Alice Black.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

One guest stunned in a “tree dress” by Charles James. Since the 1950s, Azzedine Alaïa studied the work of other master couturiers, including Charles James, who was a source of inspiration for the designer.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

When shopping privately for clients in Harvey Nichols, a firm favourite is the Alaïa concession. In the vintage store One of A Kind, I found a matching Alaïa fitted top and pencil skirt, for a celebrity client, which felt like I had struck gold. The new Alaïa flagship store on Bond Street, which launched on Thursday 26th April, consists of three floors in a somewhat serene shopping environment. I attended the official opening. The store is worth a visit due to the luxury experience. The focal point is the winding staircase on the ground floor. Both occasions symbolise the unyielding creative vision of “Azzedine Alaïa: The [Legendary] Couturier” such that he has shaped the course of fashion history.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” is at The Design Museum until the 7th of October 2018.

Written by @StyleIonNat |#StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube



Style Icon Nat

Lifestyle Writer | Content Creator | Celebrity Stylist - Natalie Robinson is based in London. The Lifestyle Collective is a luxury lifestyle, fashion and beauty blog to help inspire, educate and motivate like-minded individuals.

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