‘My Obsession Is To Make Women Beautiful When You Create With That In mind, Things Can’t Go Out Of Fashion.’
The opening we have all been anticipating for months since the announcement of his death- The Tunisian couturier who had a deep passion and desire to flaunt the female body. After always attending fashion shows in black and refusing to abide by the pressure of fashion week deadliness, it was blatantly obvious since then, that Azzedine Alaïa would not be conforming to normality of what ‘fashion’ signified during his time. Each garment Alaïa produced were constructed by hand.
The exhibition commenced with Alaïa’s creations which he acknowledged as sculptures; as it involved moulding, shaping and recreating his idea of the female body. He stepped out of the ordinary by experimenting with certain materials that would not be recognised as a form of textile; but be labelled as one in his eyes. Metal was mainly one of them. Azzedine always did the unexpected and made the impossible, possible with the materials he worked with.
DECORATION AND STRUCTURE
The addition of decorations, patterns had a major affect on the structure as well as weight of each garment. Certain fabrics the Tunisian designer included such as broderie anglaise and/or the mashrabiya , highlighted his love for the ancient culture and his Northern African childhood.
Azzedine differed the connotations of leather, and turned it into a vulnerable, delicate material which emitted elegance. All through his career, it was safe to say that with the proof of his previous collections as validation; working with leather was certainly his forté. Throughout this exhibition, you will acknowledge Azzedine challenging himself. Whether it is with chiffon, leather or muslin, he pushed the boundaries and expectations with a variety of materials.
Azzedine was not regularly focused on fabricating close-fitting outfits. Exploring volumes were a curiosity of his; and he did so by changing the shapes to redefine a woman’s body, adding layers to form voluminous gowns; whilst also forming sculptural shapes. Some of his pieces echoed the work of Cristobal Balenciaga’s, who he admired greatly.
OTHER PLACES OTHER CULTURES
A passion of Azzedine’s was African art and sculpture; and he strongly reflected and embraced this culture in his pieces. Bringing it all to life; the renowned designer did not only focus on the obvious such as colours and patterns; but more on the materials. He incorporated small yet powerful details such as Nile crocodile skin.
Once again, with his interest for another culture, this time Spanish folk costumes; Alaïa represented this with their traditional gowns. From the ruffles, to the three shades being; emerald, cerise and cyclamen and sihlouette of these dresses; he designed more dynamic and vibrant flamenco-inspired gowns.
The late fashion designer very much admired women’s bodies, and wanted to make this unambiguously clear through his tight-fitting dresses which elongated every woman’s height and adorned their shape. It is no surprise that Azzedine had a huge amount of adoration for the colour black. ‘I like black, because, for me, it’s a very happy colour.’ He certainly had no difficulties demonstrating this in his work.
Retaining the best of his work till last, and what he is most notable and commemorated for, we are shown the finale of Alaïa’s most prominent set of dresses- the body-hugging robes. Using the stretch fabrics for these wrapped forms allowed his models to move freely. From the shoulders, to the waist down; this fabric really took in every form of a woman’s figure. Later on in the early 90’s, Azzedine went on to introduce the bodycon dressing.
I hope you enjoyed this post on the Azzedine Alaïa exhibition. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you! X