Get Ready for the Azzedine Alaïa Retrospective at London’s New Design Museum Next Spring

The exhibition is expected to draw huge crowds, as Alaïa's direct involvement in the show makes it one of the designer's last projects.


The newly minted Design Museum in London’s Holland Park will open a major retrospective on Azzedine Alaïa next May. The world-renowned fashion designer was working closely together with guest curator Mark Wilson, chief curator of the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, on the exhibition when he died of heart failure last month at the age of 77.

Alaïa was a deeply beloved and respected figure in the fashion world, and the news of his passing saw celebrities and top industry figures expressing their mourning on social media.

Running from May 10–October 7, 2018, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” will span his 35-year career, presenting 60 couture works that were personally selected for the exhibition by Alaïa himself, alongside documentation of his creative process. The exhibition is expected to draw huge crowds, as his direct involvement in the show makes it one of the designer’s last projects.

Azzedine Alaïa at Galleria Borghese. Courtesy of Azzedine Alaïa.

The Tunisian-born, Paris-based designer was an innovator of unique cuts and experimental materials, rising to prominence in the 1980s for his visionary approach to the female silhouette. Having studied sculpture before moving into fashion, Alaïa’s works transcended the fashion world and gained wide recognition within the fields of art and architecture. Perhaps due to this training as a sculptor, Alaïa conceived his designs completely in 3D, rarely working from pen and paper.

The exhibition will also feature commissioned sculptures and pieces by industrial designers Konstantin Grcic and Marc Newson, as well as the artist Kris Ruhs. Alaïa collaborated with Ruhs in 2015, inviting him to show at his Paris gallery with a large-scale installation called The Hanging Garden, which featured a glimmering work consisting of 45,000 individual hanging shapes. His eponymous Paris gallery has also presented solo shows by the Memphis Group and Andrea Branzi and, more recently in 2016, an exhibition by American artist Mike Bouchet.

The London Design Museum just celebrated its one-year anniversary last month with an exhibition dedicated to Ferrari, but was also caught up in some architecture-world controversy, as the British group Twentieth Century Society officially denounced the building’s renovation (many of its modernist interior features were lost) by adding it to their “Lost Modern” hall of shame.

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