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Azzedine Alaïa gets first UK retrospective

May 9, 2018

Azzedine Alaïa is getting his first U.K. exhibit. Image credit: Azzedine Alaïa


Tunisian-born couturier Azzedine Alaïa’s fashion history is being explored in an exhibit at London’s Design Museum.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” displays more than 60 pieces from throughout more than three decades of the designer’s career. The late designer’s legacy has lived on through retrospectives, helping to preserve his story.

Looking back
Before he died, Mr. Alaïa worked with the Design Museum to co-curate the exhibit with Mark Wilson, the curator of the Groningen Museum.

Focusing on Mr. Alaïa’s work from 1980 to the present, the exhibit speaks to the ways in which he defied the increasing pressure for fast fashion.

Choosing to produce when and how he wanted, Mr. Alaïa sometimes worked on garments for years. Every piece was constructed by the designer by hand.

Azzedine Alaïa is getting an exhibit in London. Image credit: London Design Museum

Mr. Alaïa would also show his collections when he was ready, not adhering to seasonal fashion calendars.

On view in the exhibit are pieces such as his bandage dress and perforated leather garments. A key aspect of Alaïa’s designs was the definition of the female figure, such as body conscious knits.

Along with Alaïa designs, the exhibit explores the designer’s life through photos and installations created by a number of architects that inspired Mr. Alaïa’s designs including Marc Newson and Kris Ruhs.

Up from May 10 to Oct. 7, this marks the first exhibit on Mr. Alaia in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Alaïa passed away in November at the age of 77. Prior to founding his own label in 1979, Mr. Alaïa worked for Guy Laroche and Dior. He showed his first ready-to-wear collection in 1980 (see story).