Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier | Design Museum

by - September 11, 2018



The Design Museum is currently showcasing the talents of Azzedine Alaïa in Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier. Alaïa sadly passed away last November (2017). The exhibition was co-curated with the man himself showcasing his Haute Couture and Ready To Wear collections from over the decades.

But first, what is Haute couture? Haute couture translates to 'high sewing' or in other words 'needlework'. Haute couture garments have been made to order, sewn by hand, and are fitted individually to the customer. One of the many reasons as to why couture is so exclusive and has a high price tag. Tunisian-born designer Azzedine Alaïa began his haute couture career at Christian Dior (under Yves Saint Laurent) and later at Guy Laroche before establishing his own fashion house.

I visited the exhibition a few weeks ago and it is absolutely breathtaking! It's held in this large open space and divided into mini sections, each containing a couture collection. I loved walking around the room, around the masterpieces. The silhouettes were ridiculous. Each dress was figure hugging and clung to the curves of the mannequin. I felt so inadequate surrounded by them as they stood propped up on podiums. Each mannequin had been cut to fit the dress which gave the impression it was standing up by itself. It was like each piece demanded attention and respect. For the designer and the craft.




My favourite collections from the exhibit were Exploring Volume and Sculptural Tension, Alaïa's final haute couture collection (above). Exploring Volume had a Hollywood feel, of glitz and glamour. I also loved the contrast in Sculptural Tension, between the resistance and solidity associated with metal and the delicacy of the chiffon and stature of the dress. The most unusual collection was Other Places, Other Cultures. One of the items had been made from a hair-type material; it was a little bizarre but intriguing at the same time.


Student, £10.75. Adult, £14.50. Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier. Until 7th October. Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG, London. Find out more at the Design Museum.

Love, Aoife x

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