Between the airy veils, wafting as if in a summer breeze, the clothes come in¬†pairs. There is an Azzedine Ala√Įa black dress from 2007 suspended from narrow straps and, beside it, an elegant 1960 wool crepe dress with bows at the back. Cri ...
Between the airy veils, wafting as if in a summer breeze, the clothes come in¬†pairs. There is an Azzedine Ala√Įa black dress from 2007 suspended from narrow straps and, beside it, an elegant 1960 wool crepe dress with bows at the back. Crist√≥bal Balenciaga of course!
That display,¬†shown in Ala√Įa‚Äôs former home in Paris on the rue de la Verrerie, was easy to judge. But what about another duo: two lacy dresses, one burgundy, the other black? I got that wrong by over half a century (1950 and 2015) in this fascinating game of two designers who shared a passion for fashion skills.¬†
‚ÄúAla√Įa and Balenciaga: Sculptors of Form‚ÄĚ (until 28 June 2020) has a story hidden in the forest of veils and the delicately arranged display by curator Olivier Saillard.Azzedine Alaia Collector - Alaia And balenciaga, Sculptors Exhibition - Paris Fashion Week - Menswear F/W 2018-2019
‚ÄúIn 1968, Azzedine¬†bought¬†his first Crist√≥bal dress, and from that moment on he started to¬†collect¬†masters of fashion history,‚ÄĚ explained Carla Sozzani, the¬†retailer,¬†fashion and art curator who was so close to the late designer that he called her his ‚Äúsister‚ÄĚ.Fashion Show at The Azzedine Alaia In Paris
‚ÄúIn 2007, Azzedine, Christoph (Von Weyhe, Ala√Įa‚Äôs life-time partner) and I founded Association Azzedine Ala√Įa to be a Foundation of Public Interest,‚ÄĚ Carla explained. ‚ÄúThe mission is to preserve his work, his archives, and the collections he had been slowly building all his life, since the mid-60s, in art, design, and fashion. There are now over 22,000 pieces of Azzedine‚Äôs works and about 12,000 of the masters of couture he collected.‚ÄĚAzzedine Alaia Collector - Alaia And balenciaga, Sculptors Exhibition - Paris Fashion Week - Menswear F/W 2018-2019
But the current exhibition might never have taken place without Hubert de¬†Givenchy. ‚ÄúHe came to see Christoph and me a few months after Azzedine passed away, to tell us, in Azzedine‚Äôs kitchen, of his admiration for only these two masters, Crist√≥bal Balenciaga and Azzedine Ala√Įa. He wanted to do an exhibition about these two great couturiers in a ‚Äėconversation‚Äô.‚ÄĚ
Givenchy passed away only a few weeks later, but his dream became reality as Carla, Christoph and Saillard went through the 450 Balenciaga outfits that Ala√Įa had gathered, while at the same time translating the essence of those designs into the development of his own work.¬†
‚ÄúThe show is about this transmission,‚ÄĚ said Carla, who is also involved in the current 2020 Ala√Įa fashion collection, which was shown to¬†international buyers¬†during the January Spring/Summer 2020 couture season.¬†In a further chapter to the story, Balenciaga's owners, Kering, announced that the house will once again show haute couture, from this July.
As further proof that fashion can be eternal, an Edition line, recreating Ala√Įa‚Äôs work from 1988, is part of the new collection. The clothes from the past include a tuxedo jacket over a long pleated skirt and a revival of the jumpsuit.
Carla said, ‚ÄúSince Azzedine passed away, as President of the Association, my involvement is in bringing forward, in this¬†period of¬†transition, the heritage and the legacy of Azzedine‚Äôs work with¬†the archives, the studio and the ateliers.‚ÄĚAzzedine Alaia Collector - Alaia And balenciaga, Sculptors Exhibition - Paris Fashion Week - Menswear F/W 2018-2019
‚ÄúAla√Įa et Balenciaga, Sculpteurs de la Forme‚ÄĚ is at the Association Azzedine Ala√Įa,¬†18¬†rue¬†de¬†la Verrerie, Paris¬†75004¬†until 28 June 2020¬†(associationazzedinealaia.org)