Last month, the fashion world was rocked when news broke of the passing of legendary designer Azzedine Alaïa. Tributes poured out from editors, designers and supermodels alike, and at the Fashion Awards last week, Naomi Campbell, who referred to Alaïa as "Papa", took to the stage alongside a group of other models, to honour the late, great fashion icon. In a touching speech, the supermodel spoke about his impact on both the industry and her personally: "He was the most generous, kind, compassionate and humble man I have ever known, with a mischievous sense of humour in the glint of his eye, and he filled my life – and the lives of the women on this stage, and all of you in the room who met him – with light and joy. I moved into his home at 16 and he opened my eyes to the world: to artists, art and design, architecture, French and Tunisian culture. How blessed was I to have Papa show me these different worlds?... Azzedine was a protector, a teacher, a seeker and defender of all that is good and positive in this world. I am proud to be honouring, along with his daughters, a giant of fashion and a true master of humanity.”
Following on from Campbell's touching tribute last week, yesterday it was revealed that the Design Museum in London will honour the iconic couturier's career, creative process and legacy with a forthcoming exhibition, to open in May 2018. The exhibition, which will run until October 2018, has been in development for the past year and will go ahead as planned despite the designer’s untimely passing at the age of 82 on 18th November 2017.
Azzedine Alaïa was recognised throughout his life as a master couturier who captured the timeless beauty of the female silhouette in the most refined degree of haute couture. His exquisite form-fitting creations were worn by everyone from Grace Jones and Madonna to Clueless's Cher, Michelle Obama, Rihanna and Victoria Beckham. This unique exhibition, overseen by Alaïa himself, will explore his passion and energy for design, as he intended it to be seen.
Celebrated for his mastery of cut, fit and tailoring, of innovative forms and materials, Alaïa designed by draping and working directly around the human frame. He also painstakingly cut all his own patterns, which was virtually unheard of in the increasingly depersonalised world of large luxury fashion houses. Well-known for being a perfectionist, Azzedine Alaïa would work on a single creation for many years if necessary before unveiling it to the public.
The must-see exhibition will present more than 60 breathtaking examples of Alaïa’s craft from his archive, spanning the past 35 years, selected personally by Alaïa and guest curator Mark Wilson. As one of the most important fashion figures of the past century and based on the overwhelming adoration for Alaïa as both a designer and a friend, we're anticipating this exhibition will be an instant sellout. Put it in your diaries now.
Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier will open from 10th May 2018 until 7th October 2018.