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London Design Museum to honor Azzedine Alaïa’s haute couture contributions

December 13, 2017

Azzedine Alaïa backstage with models at the presentation of the autumn/winter 2017-18 couture collection. Image credit: Azzedine Alaïa


Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa will be the subject of an exhibition at the London Design Museum, a project that was in the works prior to creative’s unexpected passing in November.

For the last year, Mr. Alaïa had been working with the Design Museum on an exhinition exploring his career as a couturier and his creative process. The designer passed away at the age of 77 on Nov. 18 after suffering a heart attack (see story).

In his honor
In May, the London Design Museum will open “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” to explore the designer’s contributions to haute couture. Throughout his career, Mr. Alaïa was recognized as a master couturier who “expressed the timeless beauty of the female form in the most refined degree of haute couture.”

Mr. Alaïa had been working closely with museum curators to plan the exhibition created in his honor. Despite Mr. Alaïa's unexpected death, the Design Museum will carry out its plans and host the exhibit from May 8 to Oct. 7, 2018.

The exhibit will explore Mr. Alaïa's passion and energy for fashion as he himself intended it to be seen, the museum explained in a statement.

More than 60 of Mr. Alaïa’s creations, made over the course of his 35-year career, will be on view at the exhibit. The pieces set to be exhibited were all personally selected by Mr. Alaïa and guest curator Mark Wilson, the chief curator of the Groniger Museum.

The selected pieces are meant to highlight Mr. Alaïa’s mastery of cut, fit, tailoring and innovative forms and materials. Mr. Alaïa also designed directly on a human frame and cut his own patterns, a personalized creation method removed from many other luxury brands.

Azzedine Alaïa was known for his clinging fashions. Image credit: Azzedine Alaïa

A known perfectionist, Mr. Alaïa would work on a single outfit for years, if he deemed it necessary, before showing the piece to the public. The designer also operated outside the traditional fashion calendar much for the same reason.

The London Design Museum’s exhibit honoring Mr. Alaïa will also include specially commissioned architectural elements. These pieces have been designed by leading artists and designers whom Mr. Alaïa had an existing creative dialogue with, including Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstain Grcic, Marc Newson, Kris Ruhs and Tatiana Trouve.