May 10, 2018 – Oct 7, 2018
Celebrate ‘couture’s rebellious outsider’ (The Guardian) Azzedine Alaïa, in the first UK solo exhibition of his work.
Conceived and co-curated with Monsieur Alaïa before his death in November 2017, the exhibition charts his incredible journey from sculptor to couturier, his nonconformist nature and his infectious energy for fashion, friendship and the female body.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Alaïa personally constructed each garment by hand and refused to bow to the pressures of fashion week deadlines, instead working to his own schedule. His collaborative approach earned him an esteemed client list, including Greta Garbo, Grace Jones, Michelle Obama and Rihanna.
Rather than a retrospective, the show interlaces stories of his life and career alongside personally selected garments, ranging from the rare to the iconic and spanning the early 1980s to his most recent collection in 2017.
‘My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion.’ Azzedine Alaïa
‘A BIG master! Combining brilliantly the technique, the sewing know-how, the tradition and the modernity!’ Jean-Paul Gaultier
‘There was no one who did what he did. No one knew a woman’s body like him. He should be celebrated as one of the greatest fashion designers the world has ever known.’ Lady Gaga
‘With him disappears a certain idea that I had of the history of fashion and its authors. It embodied a territory of complete independence, completely disappeared from the landscape of fashion today.’ Olivier Saillard, Palais Galliera
‘Mr. Alaïa dedicated his life to the belief that fashion was more than just garments; to him, they were as much an element in the empowerment of women and of a broader cultural conversation.’ Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times
‘2018 will be the year when Alaïa is recognised not just as the man who changed what models wore, but as the man who changed what we all wore.’ Jessica Cartner-Morely, The Guardian
Co-curator Mark Wilson speaks to Vogue exclusively about working with his longtime friend and collaborator Azzedine Alaia on the UK’s first exhibition on the legendary designer, opening this week at the Design Museum.
On May 10, Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier, the first exhibition to be shown in the UK on the legendary designer, opens to the public at the Design Museum. Conceived and co-curated by Azzedine Alaïa himself, prior to his death in November 2017, the exhibition explores his extraordinary work, spanning his prolific career from the early ‘80s to his very last creations towards the end of 2017. Over 60 rare garments (including his trademark zipped dress, the bandage dress, the corset belt, the stretch body, perforated leather) are displayed in the exhibition co-curated by Mark Wilson, Chief Curator of the Groninger Museum, alongside a series of specially commissioned architectural screens by Alaïa’s close friends and collaborators: Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson, Kris Ruhs and Alaïa’s partner of many years, Christoph von Weyhe. Inspired by and complementing the garments on display, the commissioned works are the perfect backdrop to Alaïa’s exceptional creations which have shaped the course of fashion history over the past few decades.