Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier

Sculptural style

Before his death in November 2017, master couturier Azzedine Alaïa was working with the Design Museum to plan an exhibition that explored his career and creative process. This is the result: a collection of over 60 outstanding examples of his craft from the past 35 years, interwoven with personal stories of his life.

My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion.

Azzedine Alaïa

Born in Tunisia, Alaïa studied sculpture before moving into the fashion world; he set up his own atelier in Paris in the 1970s, attracting an exclusive clientele that included early muse Greta Garbot. It was in the 1980s that the couturier shot to fame for his sensual, figure-hugging designs, worn on the catwalk by supermodels including Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford. Alaïa also designed the iconic hooded dress worn by Grace Jones in the Bond film A View to a Kill.

With a fiercely independent spirit, Alaïa rejected the strict timescales of the fashion world and created and showed his designs at his own pace. His motto was “when the collection is ready, it’s ready”. In recent years, Alaïa’s form-sculpting clothing attracted a new generation of devotees, including Rihanna and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

There was no one who did what he did. No one knew a woman’s body like him. He should be celebrated as one of the greatest fashion designers the world has ever known.

Lady Gaga

Find out more


10 May - 7 October 2018


Design Museum
224-238 Kensington High Street 
London W8 6AG