Azzedine Ala?a was celebrated with a beautiful exhibition during Milan Fashion Week; curator extraordinaire Olivier Saillard worked closely with Carla Sozzani, Ala?a’s longtime friend and muse, and with the late couturier’s partner Christoph von Weyhe, to bring to life a retrospective paying homage to his visionary, exceptional talent. Held at the historical Palazzo Crespi, the exhibition is a visual gem which, in 21 sensational looks, traces the designer’s creative path from the ’80s to his last creations. An installation of sculptural mannequins (modeled after Naomi Campbell’s gorgeous body) was displayed under the stunning frescoed ceiling painted by artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo in 1740. It looked truly mesmerizing.
“Azzedine Ala?a is one of the greatest fashion designers of all times, cut from the same cloth as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Madame Grès, and Madeleine Vionnet,” explained Saillard. “He was an absolute master; his technique was outstanding and he mastered it to perfection—so much so that it became invisible, essential, almost undetectable and absent. It was so sublime, you didn’t perceive any effort.” The curator continued, “What’s invisible is much more difficult to achieve technically than what’s visible. He was like one of those great sport champions who master their technique to a sublime level; in his case, his masterful skills surpassed the mere craftsmanship, which became almost abstract in its purity. That’s why his work is timeless; his creations have the same timeless quality of great design pieces by Le Corbusier, Jean Prouvé, or Gio Ponti. They could be reedited forever.”
Carla Sozzani, looking serene as always despite greeting a multitude of fashionable guests, chimed in. “It has always been in Azzedine’s mind the concern about protecting his work for future generations. That’s why in 2007, together with Christoph von Wehye, we decided to establish an association in his name; we made a pact of mutual protection and help. His legacy is timeless and unique; his work can be compared to that of a sculptor, a poet, an artist. And he loved women!”
The exhibition, which will be open to the public from September 21 to September 25, was supported by Italian Vogue and by Place Vend?me Qatar Project. After the opening, guests congregated at 10 Corso Como, where Sozzani hosted a stylish, intimate dinner, attended by an elegant crowd.