For Azzedine Alaïa, born in Tunisia in 1939, Paris was his ultimate goal from the start. After moving there at the age of 18, he began working with some of the biggest designers of the era — from Christian Dior to Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler. Alaïa quickly rose in the ranks of the Parisian fashion elite. He was the private couturier to stars and jetsetters of the 1970s, from Louise de Vilmorin to Greta Garbo, and was — and still is — known for the close bonds he forms with his clients. Today, stars such as Naomi Campbell, Rihanna and many more are avid collectors Alaïa’s famously flattering designs. In honor of the designer’s influential work, the newly named Palais Galliera (formerly Musée Galliera) reopened at the end of September 2013 after a hefty four-year renovation with an entire exhibit dedicated to the couturier, appropriately titled “Alaïa.”
As the first museum in the city to have an Andy Warhol exhibit, it again makes history with the first Parisian Alaïa retrospective. At the hands of world-renowned curator and museum director, Olivier Saillard, the exposition traces the entire evolution of Azzedine Alaïa’s creations from his iconic French flag gown worn by opera soprano Jessye Norman in 1989 for the French bicentennial concert to a tailcoat from his 2003 collection that features an entire crocodile skin down the back. The exhibition will also highlight the designer’s contributions to the art of couture in Paris, the capital of fashion, centered on a set designed by artist Martin Szekely.
The exposition falls perfectly in time with the autumn 2013 opening of Alaïa’s new boutique in the center of Parisian luxury, on Rue de Marignan. With two current locations in Paris, one his über discreet flagship boutique and atelier located in the Marais, and the other a boutique dedicated to past seasons’ overflow, the opening of such a supremely located store is another indicator of Alaïa’s irrefutable, yet classically humble, return to the spotlight.
Alaïa runs through January 26, 2014.
Photo Courtesy of iStock-compass and camera