For anyone thinking of a visit to Paris in the coming weeks, there’s still time to catch this once-in-a-lifetime fashion exhibition. Marie Marsone checks it out for Tootlafrance.ie
For its grand re-opening, the Palais Galliera consecrated its first exhibition to couturier Azzedine Alaïa, featuring a unique retrospective show. A selection of 70 iconic outfits retrace the artistic journey of the Franco-Tunisian designer. In both materials and colours, the Alaïa exhibition reveals a talent and a refinement that have been constantly renewing themselves during a career marked by numerous successes.
After having worked for the biggest fashion houses in Paris, Azzedine Alaïa launches his first collection in 1979, urged under the advice of his friend Thierry Mugler. Independent-minded, he frees himself from the norms dictated to him by the world of fashion, whether from the point of view of trends or from times constraints induced by fashion shows.
Alaïa wants to be a designer of timeless creations. He prefers “clothing that lasts” to those that last no more than one or two season. His creations constantly seduce and have had a fundamental influence on contemporary fashion.
A former sculpture student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Tunis, Azzedine Alaïa conceives clothing that shapes the body and marries with its natural curves to draw sensuality from the wearer. He is one of the few rare couturiers of his generation to perfectly master all the stages of the creation of a garment and likes to invent new morphologies through complex seams. He shapes his models and plays on the different materials such as jersey, leather, stretch fabric or chiffon to create drapés or to emphasize the shape of the body. As he himself explains: “When I’m working on a garment, it must revolve around the body, from the profile and from the back.” As one who only presents his collections when they are ready, without submitting to the rhythms of the fashion shows, he labours with tiny precision to realise his creations, which are often legendary and which are always imprinted with his fascination for the body that he emphasizes with his figure-hugging lines.
Awarded with two fashion Oscars in Paris in 1985, Azzedine Alaïa finally enters the allowed circle of Haute Couture in 2011. His collections make headlines around the world and embody a spirit that is chic, classic and sexy. Despite his shyness, the reputation of Alaïa grows and, since the very beginning, has conquered legendary personalities such as Louise de Vilmorin, Arletty and Greta Garbo with his made-to-measure confections. Alaïa looks upon women with wonder and modestly confides: “I make clothes, they make fashion…” Thus, he introduces numerous models to the world, such as Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Linda Spierings, Linda Evangelista, Veronica Webb or Yasmine le Bon. He regularly dresses big stars outside of the world of fashion and his admirers include Tina Turner, Sofia Coppola and even Michelle Obama.
The Alaïa exhibition retraces this exceptional trajectory through emblematic dresses by the designer that are enhanced by some wonderful scenography from designer Martin Szekely. The retrospective continues in the Matisse room of the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris.
The exhibition runs until the 26th of January 2014 at the Palais Galliera – MUSÉE DE LA MODE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS,
10, Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, Paris 750016.
Tel +331 56 52 86 00
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
Late opening Thursdays until 21:00
Tickets: Palais Galleria – €8, €6 reduced price and €4 for juveniles, free for under-14s
Free entry to the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
Métro: Iéna or Alma-Marceau (line 9), Boissière (line 6) / RER C Pont de l’Alma