The Design Museum’s new fashion exhibition, a celebration of the work of Azzedine Alaïa, opens within a year of the death of the designer.
Alaïa passed away on the 18 November, 2017, at the age of 82 after presenting his final autumn/winter collection earlier that month. It’s this very collection that greets you upon entering the exhibition.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
A meticulous creative, a hands-on designer and a man who refused to conform to fashion’s strict calendar, Tunisian-born Alaïa launched his namesake ready-to-wear label in 1981 and his couture house in 1990. He worked on the model and presented his collections only when they were ready, often unveiling a piece after years of work instead of in line with the seasonal showcases of Fashion Week. He did, however, abide by the rules of haute couture with precision and diligence, and his designs are an exploration of technique, fabric and volume – a fact that you simply can’t miss within the museum’s careful curation.
Not satisfied with finalising two haute couture collections, Alaïa also designed the costumes for the Royal Ballet of Flanders’ Shahrazad and had a hand in the curation of this very exhibit, all in the final year of his life. Alice Black, co-director at the Design Museum, says: ‘The master is there with us through his selection [of clothes on display]. I think we’ve stayed true to what he wanted to do.’
There’s an unmissable sense of signature style within the display and, while many dresses are grouped by date or theme, there’s little that would imply their decade. One such piece is a 1980s plissé and leather mini dress that wouldn’t look out of place on today’s runway. This is timeless fashion in its most literal form. Complementing the clothes are Richard Wentworth photographs taken inside the Alaïa atelier, and a series of metal and glass backdrops commissioned especially for the display.
Pieces of particular note include a 2011 black velvet gown with embellished detailing at the hips, a fully beaded gold mini dress worn by singer Tina Turner and a piece made completely of hair. The aesthetic that ties them all together? An ever-present focus on celebrating the female form. On the wall, a quote by the designer reads: ‘My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion.’
There is, of course, strong focus placed on Alaïa’s final collection. Dresses are an artful mix of leather, chiffon, pony hair and chain mail, but they’re designed in a way that somehow seems soft, with splices of chiffon pleating breaking up the tough-luxe composition and metals imagined in pale shades of grey that almost sparkle under bright lights. Unlike many fashion exhibitions, clothes are exposed so details are hard to miss. If it’s intricacy of design that you’re inspired by, then this is a showcase that’s sure to deliver. But the exhibition is equally rewarding as an insight into both the history of the designer and haute couture in general.
Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier is at the Design Museum until 7 October, 2018.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.