Skip to main content
News / Events / The genesis of the Alaïa style is exposed

The genesis of the Alaïa style is exposed

The youthful years of the brilliant couturier, in love with women’s bodies, whose contours and wardrobe he remodeled, are the subject of an unprecedented exhibition.

Alaïa has not always been the world famous fashion phenomenon to which millions of fans of fashion, beauty and body architecture bow down. At the beginning, Azzedine Alaïa did not collect. He sewed dresses for the women of his family, his friends. And that’s where he learned it all. “When I work on a mannequin, it’s as if I were handling clay. I mould, I assemble, I disassemble, I sew, I unsew. I can take an inning indefinitely. It is by the infinity of gestures and tests, by the work of the hand that I was initiated to the cut and that without doubt I pierced part of the mystery » he had once confided.

Azzedine Alaïa, 1982 © Alice Springs
Exhibition ''Alaïa before Alaïa'', 2022 © Stéphane Aït Ouarab

If the life of the couturier who died in 2017 seemed well known, a new exhibition retraces these founding years. It will be held until October 24, under the large glass roof of his loft apartment, which has become a gallery and setting for his Foundation, rue de la Verrerie, in the Marais in Paris.

Alaïa exhibition before Alaïa, 2022 © Stéphane Aït Ouarab

Through archival documents, photographs and drawings, often presented for the first time, the journey analyzes the years that separate the budding couturier, about to leave Tunis for Paris in the 1950s, until the explosion of the Alaïa style at the dawn of the 1980s. We discover, for example, that his passion for the plasticity of the female body was born one night, in the alcoves of the Crazy Horse. As soon as he sculpts the costumes of cabaret dancers, he makes the woman’s body his argument. The one that will distinguish him from all the others.

Isabelle Manzoni