Retrospective of Azzedine Alaïa

Retrospective of Azzedine Alaïa

The London Design Museum will continue to host the retrospective of the world-renowned fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa, as planned and primed by the designer himself, before his sudden demise in late 2017. To honour Azzedine Alaïa’s influence in the fields of art, design and architecture, the exhibition features other creations by leading designers such as Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson, Kris Ruhs and Ronan & Erwan Bouroulle, with whom he had a long, creative tête-à-tête. The focus of the retrospective will be around 60 design pieces curated by Azzedine Alaïa, supplemented by photographs and personal quotes that offer an insight into the most important stages of his 35-years of career. They mirror his love for detail and reveal the source of his inspiration, which included fashion, art, photography and design.


The career of Azzedine Alaia

Azzedine Alaia Foto Peter Lindbergh

The career of Azzedine Alaïa begins in the late 1950s in Paris, where he lived and worked until he breathed his last. Initially he worked as an assistant for a short time with Christian Dior and later also for Guy Laroche and Charles Jourdan. He kind of had a rough start because his designs were often labelled too weird. Upon the advice of Thierry Mugler, he founded his own label in the early 1980s, which gradually helped him succeed. The years to follow saw the opening of his first boutiques in the fashion capitals of Paris and New York and in Beverly Hills. But his first success was short-lived as his creations were seen as old-fashioned and obsolete by critics of the industry. In 2000, he sold his company to Prada, which he bought back only a few years later. It was during this time that he met the supermodel Naomi Campbell. The chords of very close bond of friendship struck between the two. Shortly after the buyback, the luxury goods companyRichemont invested in the Azzedine Alaïa enterprise. Alaïa became a corresponding member of the Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture, a Parisian fashion association, which allowed him to design his creations asHaute Couture in 2011.


Trademark of Azzedine Alaïa

Sculptural cuts and the concise ornamentation with zippers and the use of Leatherand stretchy materials were his unmistakable trademarks. He himself did not follow any trends, worked very conceptually, and created clothes that paid homage to the form of female body. His designs usually comprisedDresses in black or white, which were absolutely form-fitting – almost embracing like a second skin. They were supremely figure-stressed and provocatively sexy. He often worked with materials that used to be unusual, such as lycra, latex and jersey. He also liked creating lace patterns and used not only buckles, but also push-up bras and incorporated bodice. The fashion world was shocked, but the stars loved his creations, which were worn early by Greta Gabo and Cécile de Rothschild and later also by Naomi Campbell, Tina Turner and Madonna. His clothes were considered pieces of art that fit like a glove and honoured the silhouette of the woman. Only in the 1990s were his creations more on the moderate side.


If you are planning a visit to the retrospective of Azzedine Alaïa, we recommend our post London – Designers Hotspots, in which we give you tips for the overnight stay and leisure time locally. You can also glance through all the tips on your mobile with the Red Dot Design App.

Posted on 09.05.2018

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