October 2, 2013By Madeleine CziglerShopping

Wearable Sculpture

View of the ”Alaïa” exhibition at the Palais Galliera.

Spruced up after a four-year renovation, the Palais Galliera, Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris (10, a venue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75116 Paris; tel.: 01 56 52 86 00) fashion museum has reopened its doors with the exhibition “Alaïa” ( through Jan. 26), honoring the talents of Azzedine Alaïa, an exceptional designer who has never run with the pack.

A shy, diminutive man who grew up in Tunis and studied sculpture (a background that is visible in his shapely designs), he has always shown his sensuous, feminine, impeccably tailored creations outside the official fashion calendar, inventing sexy, witty new shapes out of a simple interplay between complex stitching and innovative fabrics.

“I have never followed fashion,” says the designer, who painstakingly restored many of the clothes on display himself. “Women have always dictated my behavior. I make clothes, women make fashion.” His followers have included Greta Garbo, Louise de Vilmorin, Grace Jones, Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour and Linda Evangelista

Olivier Saillard, the curator of the show, has brought together 74 pieces that he describes as “timeless,” which he says explains why the clothing is not shown chronologically. “We mixed all the dresses together – leather, felted wool, African evening wear, sexy goddess gowns, etc.”


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