London's new Azzedine Alaïa exhibition will rock your world Advertisement

London’s new Azzedine Alaïa exhibition will rock your world

Everyone from Naomi Campbell to Cher Horowitz loved the late couturier

By Hikmat Mohammed  May 11th, 2018

The Azzedine Alaïa exhibition in London’s Design Museum is a huge celebration of the late-Tunisian designer’s legacy. Open to the public from tomorrow (May 10), it explores the designer’s unparalleled creative talent and the timeless beauty of his designs. 

“We had a running joke, it’s an art exhibition in the Design Museum,” Mark Wilson told ELLE, co-curator of the exhibition with monsieur Alaïa. 

Alaïa was an active collector of art and design pieces — having turned a Jean Prouvé gas station into a bedroom for himself. His unconventional approach to fashion design has been eminent throughout the industry. Somewhat surprisingly, the fashion house opened their first flagship store in London only back in April. 

The aim of the exhibition for Wilson was “for people to really come and look at the construction of things and reflect on what’s missing in fashion today.”

Azzedine Alaia

Alaïa shared a rich history with ELLE magazine editors, including Melka Treanton and Nicole Crassat. The relationships started at the end of the 70s, as Alaïa prepared to establish Maison Alaïa with his partner, Christoph von Weyhe. 

In 1992, ELLE featured Alaïa in a 10-page editorial spread with Naomi Campbell, Veronica Webb and Christy Turlington.

A post shared by Langypoo (@langylangypoo) on May 10, 2018 at 11:39am PDT

Exhibiting over 60 pieces from his archive, Carla Sozzani (founder of Milan’s internationally renowned luxury boutique, 10 Corso Como), long-time friend and collaborator tells ELLE that, “Azzedine wanted his pieces to be shown to the younger generation, he always collected everything, every single piece from the beginning of his career.”

Alaïa’s timeless pieces such as the zipped dress, the bondage dress and perforated leather are all showcased against specially commissioned design pieces by friends: Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson and Kris Ruhs. 

Alaïa’s career, essence and craftsmanship were captured through intimate photographs by Richard Wentworth, taken between January 2016 to July 2017 .

“What I love about Azzedine’s clothes is that they are sensual, but also respectful, and never one step too far,” says Sozzani, recalling her favourite Alaïa piece from 1981 — a short black leather dress with one sleeve. 

“You don’t understand. It’s an Alaia,” said Cher Horowitz in Clueless, protesting when asked to get on the floor in a red mini dress.

Cher Horowitz in Clueless

Well, now you will, thanks to the Design Museum.