Azzedine Alaïa is the subject of a major retrospective, Couture/Sculpture, juxtaposing three decades of his work with the Galleria Borghese’s masterpieces – filled with 65 of his designs on display, including his famous body-con dresses, arrayed selectively among the Berninis and Caravaggios, the marble and mosaics, of the 17th-century palace.
According to WWD, ”Alaïa redid some looks to fit the mannequins and the size of the galleries, while others are original designs, such as Tina Turner’s short gold dress, or Charlotte Stockdale’s wedding gown for her marriage to Marc Newson.”
“This shows how he holds up with old masters, it’s very clear and very simple,” said Mark Wilson, the exhibit’s curator and friend of Alaïa.“I don’t even consider him a fashion person, he is an artist.”
“We were a little nervous, to be honest,” the artist Kris Ruhs, a member of the extended Alaïa family who had helped install the show, said at the opening. He gestured around the rooms, which were crowded with visitors and in the direction of Bernini’s “Apollo and Daphne.” “There’s a lot of competition,” he said.
But the result “was totally harmonious,” as Alber Elbaz of Lanvin said before posing with Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino (and Mr. Alaïa). According to the NY Times…
“It was perfect,” said Camille Miceli, the designer of Louis Vuitton’s fashion accessories, as she left the show for the celebratory dinner in the gardens that followed the opening. She looked back through the glass doors at the gowns beyond and fiddled with her waist. “Only he can get it right,” she said.
It is a triumphant and resplendent exhibition, and the honour of being permitted to display his artistic designs in such an illustrious venue is not lost on the designer: “This is a special museum and not an exhibition space,” said Alaïa.