This Azzedine Alaïa retrospective will be 2018’S chicest exhibition

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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The Design Museum’s upcoming exhibition is set to be a sartorial feast.

Azzedine Alaïa’s recent passing in November 2017 prompted everyone from Elle Macpherson to Marc Jacobs to pay heartfelt tribute to the titan of fashion. This year the Design Museum hosts the first-ever UK exhibition of his work, presenting more than 60 pieces curated personally by Alaïa before his death, aged 77. And Stylist can exclusively announce that tickets go on sale on 13 February.

Alaïa was a couturier beloved by women (muse Naomi Campbell called him ‘Papa’); his high fashion work sculpted and celebrated female bodies – a revolutionary approach in the Eighties when his designs first gained him global recognition. 

“For me, fashion is the body,” said the Tunisian-born designer. “I make clothes, women make fashion.”

Referred to as the ‘king’ by those within the world of haute couture, his pieces sometimes took years to put together and would only be revealed when he felt they were ready – rather than according to the biannual schedule of Fashion Week.

Clients in his later years included Michelle Obama and Rihanna, who enjoyed a close friendship with him. Alaïa also collaborated with artists from different mediums such as Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Marc Newson, who have created unique metal installations for the exhibition that mimic the patterns of the couturier’s creations.

Accompanying the main showcase will be personal insights from the designer on his inspiration and process. It’s a rare look into the mind of a man who defied tradition and convention, refusing to kowtow to his peers – he once accused Karl Lagerfeld of “too much caricature”, and dismissed Anna Wintour, saying, “Who will remember Anna Wintour in the history of fashion? No-one.”

No such fears for Alaïa; get tickets now to see how he cemented his place in history.

Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier runs at the Design Museum, London from 10 May-7 October. Tickets are £16; buy them here.

Image: Rex Features