Le Palais Galliera: an era of fashion by Azzedine Alaïa

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By Maya AlShabab.

“I didn’t learn from any fashion school.” Alaïa says frankly, “I dressed women directly on the body by intuition. This is how I got my experience.” A born designer, a natural genius, Alaïa’s signature style soon became evident in his use of metal, and deliciously form-hugging dresses “made to be taken off fast” as he famously put it.

And so one of the most relevant expositions in the fashion world closed its doors this January, Azzedine Alaïa showcased his most intimate pieces in this beautiful lieu of Paris, Le Palais Galliera.

When we take a closer look at the background Alaïa came from as a designer, we begin to understand his ‘dissection’ approach to creating fashion. Alaïa began as an art student in Tunisia, studying the human form and anatomy as part of his sculpture lessons at the École des Beaux-Arts, in Tunis. His personal style was nature-given, sculpted by his experience.

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An important turning point for Alaïa was designing costumes for some of the dancers at the Crazy Horse in 1980, at the very special request of Alain Bernardin, the owner of the famous Parisian burlesque club. It was during this episode in his career that Alaïa learned to create clothes that were both extremely seductive and attention grabbing, yet remained very classy.

Along with these distinctive characteristics, Alaïa’s style was influenced by his passion for the timeless fashions of Marie Antoinette, women of society, courtesans and the manner of dressing and fashion that wet along with their lifestyle.

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His knowledge of the human anatomy is both paramount and evident in his famous masterpieces…

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Among his many undeniable marks in the fashion world was his introduction in 1992 of leggings as a daily solution for form-revealing wear that is discreet and alluring all at once. However, it is his hooded dress that came to be and remains his true signature piece, accented with a metallic zipper, and first launched in 1986-87.

Two variations of the hooded dress, Alaïa's signature piece (1986-87)

Two variations of the hooded dress, Alaïa’s signature piece (1986-87)

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