AL FRESCO: After Paris and London, Milan is hosting an exhibition of designs by Azzedine Alaïa that in terms of setting is among the most spectacular yet.
At the opening night on Thursday, 21 looks were unveiled in the Galleria degli Arazzi of the storied Palazzo Clerici, under spectacular frescoes by 18th-century artist Giambattista Tiepolo.
Olivier Saillard, the fashion historian who curated the show, said seeing the outfits in the gilded reception room, which also features tapestries and a wood marquetry floor, cast them in a fresh light.
“There are clothes I have handled dozens of times, and for example this little white dress, I think, looks a lot more alive here,” he said, pointing to a short Grecian-style draped jersey dress.
“It’s the first time that Azzedine Alaïa is the subject of an exhibition in Milan. It’s like a little appetizer in the hope of perhaps doing something bigger one day,” he added.
Supported by the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation and Vogue Italia, in partnership with Place Vendôme Qatar, “Azzedine Alaïa Couture Sculpture” is open to the public until Sept. 25 during Milan Fashion Week.
For Sara Maino, deputy editor of Vogue Italia and head of Vogue Talents, it was a family affair. Her mother Carla Sozzani worked alongside Alaïa for decades and is still closely involved with the brand.
“I used to call him papa. He saw me since I was, like, three years old, so it’s really kind of a family passion,” she said.
While some of the outfits were also shown at the Villa Borghese in Rome in 2015, the foundation has stepped up the rhythm of exhibitions since the couturier died last year.
“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” runs at the Design Museum in London until Oct. 7, and a new exhibition will bow at his exhibition space in Paris during couture week in January, Saillard said.
“We try to favor venues that have never hosted a fashion exhibition before, which is the case here, but now we are going to give the clothes a little bit of a rest,” he said.