London’s newly opened Design Museum in Holland Park will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month.
The retrospective, which Alaïa worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the Groninger Museum, will look at the impact his work has had worldwide.
The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to Oct. 7 and feature specially commissioned pieces of design and sculpture by Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson and Kris Ruhs, with whom Alaïa collaborated in 2015. The 2015 show at the designer’s Paris gallery called “The Hanging Garden” featured an installation of 45,000 shapes.
Alaïa is recognized for his ability to drape and sculpt on the human frame with different materials, using innovative cuts, fits and tailoring methods. In July, he returned to the couture calendar after a six-year hiatus and was ready to open a long-awaited London flagship early next year.
Alaïa was celebrated by fashion designers new and old in the industry. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons described him as a designer who “worked with his heart and soul.”
Last week at the Fashion Awards in London, Alaïa was top-of-mind, with a lineup of models-turned-muses such as Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Ferida Khelfa and more taking the stage to talk about the late designer’s generosity, creativity and individuality.
Tunisia-born Alaïa gained international fame in the ’80s because of the success of his evening dresses, snug knits and sculpted leathers, and was nicknamed “The King of Cling” because his clothes fit like a second skin.
He was known for his refusal to bow to industry timetables and marketing pressures, preferring to work at his own pace.