Azzedine Alaïa is a revered name in the fashion world. His designs, which have graced the bodies of everyone from Naomi Campbell to Victoria Beckham, have proven themselves timeless through the decades. Now, he is getting an exhibit at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. Couture/Sculpture: Azzedine Alaïa in the History of Fashion, will feature some of his most famous dresses alongside the romantic and striking sculptures of Bernini and Canova. Alaïa, who is Tunisian, actually did study sculpture while at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. It wasn’t until after his graduation that Alaïa finally indulged in his interest in fashion. He quickly rose in the ranks, working at Christian Dior and Thierry Mugler before opening his own atelier in the 70s. His form fitting dresses gained worldwide renown, catapulting him to fame with the help of fashion editors and celebrity friends alike, and a private clientele kept him busy and in demand. Even today he continues to maintain a devoted fanbase.
Alaïa shows his collections by appointment at the end of Paris fashion week and “when they are ready” rather than by season. Instead of falling victim to the moneymaking ease of it bags and perfumes, he focuses on his private clients – though he is releasing a fragrance in the fall, more than 30 years after establishing his brand. He avoids the media and rarely grants interviews, though he does have an active Instagram account. Alaïa’s bold career choices have cemented him as a dissident of the fashion world. So his getting an exhibit comes as no surprise. The undulating, shapely forms his dresses grant will seamlessly blend in with the sculptures they are to complement. His fantastical, sexy and legendary designs, which range from the iconic bandage dress to voluminous couture gowns, deserve their place on a pedestal. It’s apt that his dresses will be displayed among sculptures – his precision in design and grace in construction for a woman’s body mirrors the precision and grace required by the great sculptors of ancient times.