For her first column for Curate, Erin went to the Alaia exhibit in Paris since she just happened to be there already for the shows. We are huge, huge, huge Alaia fans and while we are profoundly jealous not to have been ourselves, we are also insanely pleased to be able to bring you this first hand account. We also found a superb little video of the opening night gala for you to see. It really brings Erin's words and the pictures to life! Enjoy!
Last week a retrospective of Azzedine Alaïa’s dresses opened at the Musée de l’Art Moderne in Paris.
Of the 74 dresses on display, not one of them seemed outdated. Each dress and coat stood on it’s own, a wearable piece of art that, like the Matisse works that served as a backdrop for the exhibition, you simply couldn’t take your eyes off, examining each subtle detail, looking for how a tuck begins, what those top stitches create and what lies beneath each perforation. You could spend hours trying to figure out how he constructed the full-skirt “poufs” out of leather and his signature elastic fabric.
Azzedine Alaïa’s ability to flatter a woman’s body is unparalleled. The Tunisian-born designer creates a waist even if there isn’t much of one to work with. His often-emulated body-conscious cuts and elastic fabrics have a phenomenal ability to pull a woman’s body in as if it were wrapped in a multitude of ace bandages. It takes a lot of work to make one of these dresses, yet each dress exudes a simplicity that women are drawn to.
When you put on one of his dresses, you know you look your best, which causes you to carry yourself differently, more confidently. In the end, it is the woman who is wearing the dress that garners the attention, not necessarily the dress itself. This is why Mr. Alaïa is one of fashion’s most respected and celebrated designers. Like his dresses, he stands back from the spotlight but is very much the force that illuminates his subjects.
Mr. Alaïa once said: “A woman is like an actress, she's always onstage. She has to look great to feel good. If she's going to wear clothes by a designer, then the clothes should make something happen, something unexpected. The dress has to be part of her; she has to feel it on her body. I prefer the woman to be seen rather than the outfit. Her head, her body, her hands - the garment is there to cover her, to underline something, and make her beautiful.”
With that guiding philosophy, is it any wonder why Alaïa never goes out of style?
Video Source: Blouin ArtInfo