Legendary dressmaker Azzedine Alaia gets London tribute

Dresses by Tunisian-born designer Azzedine Alaia, in a collection entitled Black Silhouette, ahead of a forthcoming exhibition of the designer's work, called Azzedine Alaia : The Couturier at London Design Museum in London on May 9, 2018.
Dresses by Tunisian-born designer Azzedine Alaia, in a collection entitled Black Silhouette, ahead of a forthcoming exhibition of the designer's work, called Azzedine Alaia : The Couturier at London Design Museum in London on May 9, 2018.PHOTO: AFP
Dresses by Tunisian-born designer Azzedine Alaia, in a collection entitled Exploring Volume 2017, ahead of a forthcoming exhibition of the designer's work, called Azzedine Alaia : The Couturier at London Design Museum in London on May 9, 2018.
Dresses by Tunisian-born designer Azzedine Alaia, in a collection entitled Exploring Volume 2017, ahead of a forthcoming exhibition of the designer's work, called Azzedine Alaia : The Couturier at London Design Museum in London on May 9, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - An exhibition dedicated to French-Tunisian dressmaker Azzedine Alaia - lauded for his trademark zipped and bandage dresses - opens in London this week, six months after his death aged 82.

Among the dresses on display will be many which have become fashion icons, including his famed white hooded dress.

Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier - which runs until October 7 - will exhibit 60 garments chosen by Alaia before he died in November 2017.

The show traces the work of the maestro from the early 1980s to 2017, documenting an industry-defining career.

A perfectionist to the end, Alaia selected the dresses himself before his death in collaboration with Mark Wilson - curator of the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.

"He re-made everything for the exhibition for the mannequins. He was like the master of cut and fit so he wouldn't just take something and try to fit it onto a mannequin," Wilson told AFP.

"He was really a sculptor, he worked on the body. It's all about the cut, it all about how a garment will fit on a woman's body." As an admirer of elegance and femininity, he used his exceptional talent to give "power" to women and the dresses are a testament to that, Wilson said.

 

Fashion giant Azzedine Alaia dies at 77

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A 2015 photo shows Alaia posing during a press preview of the exhibition
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A 2015 photo shows Alaia posing during a press preview of the exhibition "Azzedine Alaia's soft sculpture" in Rome.
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PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) – Tunisian-born fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, who dressed stars from Greta Garbo to Grace Jones and Lady Gaga, died in Paris at the age of 77, the French Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion said on Saturday (Nov 18).

The designer was a star of the Paris fashion world in the 1980s and 1990s, when models Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell strode down the catwalks in his trademark figure-hugging designs.

Dubbed the “King of Cling”, his dresses were worn by former US first lady Michelle Obama, pop singer Madonna and French actress Marion Cotillard.

 

Born into a farming family in Tunis in 1940, Alaia – who always wore black – started out in French fashion houses Christian Dior, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler but after setting up his own firm he rarely took part in the Paris Fashion Weeks.

“A small man but huge in the world of fashion,” French model Inès de la Fressange wrote on Twitter.

Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay, a former French culture minister, said Alaia was a “genius weaving links between fashion, architecture and sculpture, creating dresses to highlight women’s bodies”.

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PARIS (AFP) - French-Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaia, whose timeless gowns won an army of devotees around the world, has died at the age of 77, France's fashion federation said on Saturday (Nov 18).
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"He loved women. He wanted to make women look amazing, powerful. That's why women loved him.... He wanted women to feel really confident." The son of a Tunisian farmer, Alaia worked for the local seamstress to fund his studies in Paris where he initially worked under the guidance of Yves Saint Laurent at Christian Dior.

Supported by a following of loyal clients, in his later years he was able to pursue his own projects away from the limelight.