Review: Azzedine Alaïa, The Couturier, London exhibition

London’s Design Museum brings homage to the Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa with the exhibition “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”.

Deemed as a “must-see” by Elle magazine, it showcases pieces designed throughout different stages of his life: from early 1980’s, when he established Maison Alaïa, until 2017, the year he created his last collection – Summer 2018 – before passing away.

The designer was considered a rebel in the fashion world because he never conformed himself to the rule of producing collections for every season of the year.

He created when his imagination was stimulated. At some point during his career, around 1995, he stopped presenting his collections to the large public for a few years.

Perhaps it is this liberty he took of designing only when he felt like he should, allowed him to put all the effort and concentration into celebrating women with his timeless pieces.

Wrapped forms by Azzedine Alaïa

The acclaimed designer once said: “My obsession is to make women beautiful.”
Every piece he produced is a reinforcement of this statement. With fascinating materials clinging to the right body parts, impeccable finishes and dramatic details such as very low backlines, is impossible not to make any woman dressed in one of his pieces feel beautiful.

Wrapped forms by Azzedine Alaïa

The exhibition, which was co-curated by Alaïa, is beautifully laid out. The clothes appear very statuesque, probably an intentional arrangement inspired by the fact that he started as a sculptor before he became a couturier. The play between lights and shadows give you the impression his creations have a life of their own.

Exploring volumes by Azzedine Alaïa

It was inspiring to see the evolution of his art. Alaïa’s older designs were very sensual, hugging the body and acting as a second skin as if conceived for Aphrodita herself. His newer work, although still provocative, evolved into a tranquilizing fluidity. Especially striking was his 2017 collection, which seemed to be made for warrior princesses.

Sculptural tension by Azzedine Alaïa

The exhibition is open until October 2018.

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