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Hamish Bowles: Must See

The Art of Tailoring

Adrian and Alaia


Janauary 21 - June 23, 2019


18 Rue de la Verrerie, Paris, France

While the world knows Azzedine Alaïa, the late Tunisian fashion designer who rose to prominence in the 1980s, by his famed bodycon dresses and sculptural construction techniques, few had been granted access to understand ‘Azzedine the collector’, an equally important yet exponentially more discrete facet of Alaïa’s four-decade career in fashion. Now, with the help of Carla Sozzani and curator Olivier Saillard, the world is finally getting a chance to experience the breadth of Monsieur Alaïa’s person archive, one that includes hundreds of garments by the great 20th century designers including Charles James, Cristobal Balenciaga, Madame Grès, Vionnet, and American costume designer turned fashion star, Gilbert Adrian.

Throughout the 1980s, having purchased a rare collection of over 100 of Adrian’s early 20th century designs, Alaïa studied each garment with precision, working to replicate Adrian’s unrivaled skills in tailoring and focus on subtle details, in his own designs. Now, in the latest show at the Azzedine Alaïa Association, aptly titled ‘Art of the Tailor,’ Saillard presents a thoughtful selection of rarely seen Adrian jackets and ensembles from Alaïa’s personal archive, alongside some exemplarily garments by the late Tunisian designer. The exhibition sheds light on the technical skills, sophisticated construction techniques and shared finesse that defined both Adrian’s and Alaïa’s careers; a must see for any fashion lover visiting Paris.

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Hamish Bowles is an English journalist, fashion historian, collector and, since 1995, has served as the European editor-at-large of American Vogue. 

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