Azzedine Alaïa: The Exhibition of the Summer
Most years there is a fashion exhibition that is the ONE. Who can forget Savage Beauty from 2015? This year the buzz is all about Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier at the Design Museum in Kensington,
I knew that I needed to see this, so I decided to go on a day trip solo to soak it all in.
Quite often the setting of the exhibition is a deal breaker, well the design museum which is situated off Holland Park in wealthy Kensington, in the former Commonwealth Institute is breathtaking and palatial with a cool modern vibe that is perfect for a contemplative session of culture.
The exhibition is a retrospective of the designer Azzedine Alaïa. Alaïa worked with the museum to create the immersive experience, however, his untimely death last November adds another layer of contemplation to this display of talent and artistry. Forget what you know about fashion exhibitions as this is so unlike anything you will have seen before.
The huge expansive space is sectioned by specially commissioned screens by artists who were friends of Alaïa’s, which divide and showcase the garments. The screens channel your view and also provide another visual layer to the space. These screens create the spectral elements, adding textures and reflections from the glass and polished metals on display.
The garments are all on ethereal and invisible mannequins which tower into the air, showing the full expanse of material and artistry. Alaïa once said ‘My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion’. The clothes on show highlight the diversity and consistency of Alaïa’s career with pieces from 1984 looking as crisp and fresh as pieces from last year’s couture collection.
There is a hushed church-like silence in the space, completely unenforced, but speech is redundant in the face of such beauty. Even the documentary and films are hushed, adding a moving element to the exhibition and an insight into the fashion industry’s respect and loyalty to Alaïa.
As you can see the pictures are so stunning but trust us when we say, it is unbelievable in person. I cannot recommend this exhibition enough. Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier, really is the show of the summer.
Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier at the Design Museum is on until the 7th of October 2018, for more information head to designmuseum.org