A one-of-a-kind exhibition: Azzedine Alaïa, couturier and collector

Ten years after the major retrospective devoted to him at the Palais Galliera, Azzedine Alaïa (1935-2017) is back in the spotlight with an exhibition showcasing the remarkable heritage collection he amassed over the years, which has never been exhibited before. 

Azzedine Alaïa was a virtuoso cutter. His technical skills stemmed from his deep admiration for the couturiers of the past and from his long experience with the clients he so expertly served.

Alaïa was also an exceptional collector. He started in 1968 with some exquisite pieces acquired when Cristóbal Balenciaga closed his fashion house. He found studying the haute couture creations of the Spanish master enthralling and it led to a passion for the history of his own discipline.

Alaïa collected over 20,000 pieces documenting the art of his predecessors, from the birth of haute couture in the late 19th century to pieces by some of his contemporaries. He was the world’s foremost collector of some of the most prestigious couturiers, including Worth, Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Patou, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Madame Grès, Paul Poiret, Gabrielle Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior. Contemporary creation is represented by pieces by Jean Paul Gaultier, Comme des Garçons, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, and Yohji Yamamoto...

The exhibition features some 140 exceptional pieces tracing the history of this priceless collection, which Alaïa built up in total secrecy. Nobody saw it during his lifetime, neither in France nor elsewhere. 


Miren Arzalluz, director of the Palais Galliera

Olivier Saillard, director of the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation, with the assistance of Alice Freudiger

Produced by HD FASHION TV