Azzedine Alaïa’s New Photography Exhibition Gives You a Glimpse Into the Life of a Fashion Editor

Azzedine Alaïa and Carla Sozzani
Azzedine Alaïa and Carla Sozzani
Stéphane Feugère

Not only does he have his studio in Paris’ Marais but legendary fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa also has his own art gallery. Its newest exhibition is titled “Entre l’art et la mode: la collection Carla Sozzani” and features 198 black and white photographs belonging to his great friend.

Sozzani who has done everything from editing Italian Vogue to founding international concept store 10 Corso Como, is also a keen art collector with her own Gallery in Milan. At the exhibition’s launch Thursday night, she gave Footwear News insight into her life story via the shots on display.

Elgort, Arthur (New York, USA, 1940) Azzedine Alaïa and Naomi Campbell, New York City, 1987 Archival Pigment Print Edition A/P 35,4 x 28 cm (14 x 11 in.) On verso: signature, title, date and edition in pencil. Elgort, Arthur, (New York, USA, 1940), Azzedine Alaïa and Naomi Campbell, New York City, 1987<br />Archival Pigment Print Edition A/P 35,4 x 28 cm (14 x 11 in.). © Arthur Elgort

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The first photograph she bought, she said, was Irving Penn’s “2 Unggai Warriors” in 1974 which she was inspired to purchase because of her own travels. “I was going to a lot to exotic places for fashion shoots — there was no Photoshop so when you wanted to take a picture in the sunshine you had to go where the sunshine was.” Sarah Moon’s Elephant is another that particularly resonates: “She gave it to me to wish me good luck and it has always been with me since.”

Mr. Alaïa himself also features prominently in the collection — unsurprising as “we’ve had almost 40 years of friendship so he’s a big part of my life” — and Arthur ‘Elgort’s portrait of Alaïa zipping Naomi Campbell into one of his dresses is a real favorite. “I love that you can’t see his face,” she says, “but you know it’s him.”

Gibson, Ralph (Los Angeles, USA,1939) S.T. Series “Ich bin die Nacht”, 1990 Gelatin silver print, later print 50,5 x 40,5 cm (20 x 16 in.) Gibson, Ralph (Los Angeles, USA,1939), S.T. Series “Ich bin die Nacht”, 1990, Gelatin silver print, later print<br />50,5 x 40,5 cm (20 x 16 in.). © Ralph Gibson

The common theme in Sozzani’s eclectic collection is composition, borne out in a particularly footwear relevant shot by Ralph Gibson; a man’s black laceup beside the foot of a table in the shape of a dog. “It’s Fabrice’s favorite picture” she says, referring to Fabrice Hergott, director of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris whose selection from her archive makes up the show.

Sozzani herself is wearing a 25 year old pair of John Lobb Chelsea boots but for Corso Como she’s “always looking to find the new Beth Levine, she was super daring. I also want to do an exhibition of her work.” As for the current crop of footwear designers she’s buying into, she cited Fabrizio Viti, “I’m interested to see the evolution of his collection, he’s a big talent.”

Exhibition runs Nov. 11 to Feb. 26 2017, Galerie Azzedine Alaia, 18 rue de la Verrerie, 75004, Paris.