Azzedine Alaïa is honored as a true couturier

The spectacular space in the Marais is furnished with lit “cabins” and mirrors

On opening day, Sunday, all the models who loved Azzedine Alaïa came to see the show in the middle of Haute couture week end and Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford with her daughter, were moved by this posthumous homage to the great couturier who abruptly died last November. The show runs until June 10 in his headquarters of rue de la Verrerie.

Detail of a knit dress for Summer 1994

Olivier Saillard, the curator of the show, was there and when I asked him how he had made a selection in the forty year long career of the designer, he said he had wanted mostly black and white (there is one dramatic red dress from 1996) and evening dresses, to stress the solemnity of the homage. The coup d’oeil when you enter the large room lined with mirrors and round stands is exciting and warm to the heart. One recognizes many models worn by Grace Jones or Farida Khelfa, who accompanied Alaïa during his whole career.

Blue lace and skin color evening dress from Winter 2016

What strikes the eye is the fabulous mix of materials that Alaïa manages: leather and black velvet, knits and leather, pearls or needles and crêpe, lace and tulle and mousseline. Alaïa always wanted to make women look beautiful and Bettina Graziani, who’d been a model for Christian Dior, wore his dresses until she died in her eighties. There was no limit of age nor body. He always managed to dress you at your best. Of course, the 41 dresses shown here are all of a 34 size and look aerial and ageless.

Detail of a spectacular wool dress Winter 2012

There are many 2017 dresses in the show for Olivier Saillard wanted us to know that the couturier was at the height of his talent today, at almost 80… His company is owned by Richemont group who is opening a shop in London in March, on 139 New Bond Street at the same time that the museum of Design is honoring him with a large show.

Winter 2017

The association which he created in 2007 will soon become a foundation showing his collection of dresses by Madeleine Vionnet, Balenciaga and Grès… And next April a bookshop will open in the courtyard of his space of rue de la Verrerie.

From rue de Bellechasse in the 1960’s to the Marais, Azzedine Alaïa has always been true to his art, in complete modesty. “Je suis couturier” is a beautiful tribute. (until June 10, 18 rue de la Verrerie)

One of his most famous dresses with the zipper, summer 1981 was repeated as an evening dress in 2003

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