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Exhibition: Azzedine Alaia (London, 2018)

In the early morning of a hot sunny day on our first trip to London in August 2018, we continued exploring the city in the Notting Hill area. After walking along Portobello Road, we went to Holland Park, where peacocks were walking, and flowers were blooming.

It was not easy to get to the Design Museum: Google maps led to dead ends several times. I had to return to the park again and again and then look for exits from it. And here it is - a modest museum with a small fountain:

My main goal in the museum was the exhibition of legendary designer Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier.

Azzedine Alaia, a Tunisian designer and a sculptor by education, won the hearts of fashionistas with tight dresses that turned women into statues. In his dresses, women looked both strong and sophisticated.

Alaia created dresses directly on the figure of the models, thereby achieving the perfect fit, and the dresses looked like a second skin. The designer was called the fashion sculptor and the king of a stretch.

The peak of the designer's creativity came in the eighties when the athletic body was fashionable. Therefore, fashionistas fell in love with his bandage dresses, inspired by the mummification in Ancient Egypt. It seems that to wear such dresses women have to have ideal figures, but fashionistas claim that dresses emphasize advantages and correct flaws.

At the dawn of his career, Alaia worked in the fashion houses of Christian Dior, Guy Laroche and helped Thierry Mugler. The designer did not follow the seasonal calendar of fashion shows and worked at his own pace. He worked with advanced stretch fabrics and fine elastic leather.

Among his clients were Madonna, Tina Turner, Greta Garbo, Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron. Naomi Campbell at the beginning of her career became a close friend of the designer, lived in his apartment, and called him papa.

The exhibition featured 60 rare and iconic works by the designer from the early 1980s to the latest collection in 2017. The designer personally chose the dresses for the exposition and actively participated in the preparation of the exhibition until the day of his death in November 2017. There was a separate hall at the exhibition, which showed videos of the shows of collections and behind-the-scenes life in the dressing rooms of the designer's favorite models.

One of Alaia's iconic dresses is a lilac dress with a lace-up side and a hood. It was worn by one of the designer's muses - Grace Jones.

She wore the costumes of Azzedine Alaia in the fourteenth film about the adventures of British super-agent James Bond, A View To A Kill (1985), in which she played the villainess.

Tina Turner was a big fan of the designer. He created her costumes not only for stage but also for life. The exhibition featured her gold dress with chains.

Black was the designer's favorite color. He always wore only black and often sewed black dresses. He believed that the anonymity of black focuses attention not on the clothes but on the woman who wears them.

I am not a big fan of black, but I spent the most time in the sector of black dresses. Each of them is a piece of art.

One of the versions of the legendary black dress with metal zippers, in which Naomi Campbell posed in 1987, was presented at the exhibition. Now you can find this dress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York at About Time: Fashion and Duration exhibition.

I am also not a fan of leather clothes (not outerwear), but Alaia's leather dresses do not have a drop of vulgarity, they look very feminine.

In addition to black, there were also dresses of other colors on display. Top model Elle Macpherson's wedding dress was displayed at the entrance of the exhibition.

The brightest dresses on display were from the designer's 2011 Spanish collection, which was inspired by the dresses of flamenco dancers after Alaia's trip to Granada.

Azzedine Alaia also used unusual materials in his works: linen ropes, shells, the skin of a Nile crocodile.

Other exhibits:

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