A retrospective on Azzedine Alaïa will open at the Design Museum in London next spring.
Azzedine Alaïa: the Couturier will run for five months from 10 May and include more than 60 couture pieces from the Tunisian fashion designer’s 35-year body of work.
Alaïa, who died last month of heart failure, had been working with the museum’s guest curator, Mark Wilson, on the exhibition, selecting rare pieces from his archive and providing documentation of his creative process.
The Paris-based designer was widely celebrated for his ability to cut, fit, drape and tailor in a traditional way, an art form considered to be dying out as fashion houses became increasingly depersonalised.
At his peak in the 1990s, Alaïa became a household name for his progressive approach to the female silhouette, creating body-con dresses for his loyal customer base, which included Rihanna and Naomi Campbell.
In a rare move for a retrospective, the designer was heavily involved in all aspects of the collaboration.
“Following his untimely passing on 18 November 2017, the Design Museum will now present this unique exhibition planned by Alaïa himself, exploring his passion and energy for fashion as he himself intended it to be seen,” said a spokesperson for the museum.
“Azzedine Alaïa was recognised throughout his life as a master couturier who expressed the timeless beauty of the female form in the most refined degree of haute couture.”
His death sparked an outpouring of grief within the industry. At the Fashion Awards last week, Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, and Veronica Webb among other muses and friends paid tribute to the designer.
“Everyone in this room knows that Azzedine was able to transform a woman’s body into something special; make you look great and still like a woman,” said Campbell, who referred to the designer as “Papa”.
The pair’s friendship was famous, with the model often staying with Alaïa in Paris. He would sometimes forgo sketches and drawings, instead using Campbell as his ‘fit model’.