Alaïa’s summer 1992 collection, a tribute to Madame de Pompadour, on show in Paris

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Nicola Mira
today Jun 25, 2018
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Following “Je suis couturier”, the first exhibition staged by the Azzedine Alaïa Association after the Tunisian designer’s death last November, the Association has decided to hold a second one focusing on Alaïa’s summer 1992 collection. Olivier Saillard, the former director of the Paris Museum of Fashion, has curated the new exhibition, entitled "L’alchimie secrète d’une collection” (The secret alchemy of a collection), as he did for the first retrospective.

Azzedine Alaïa inside his headquarters at 18, rue de la Verrerie, Paris - Gilles Decamps, 1987

The collection’s themes were Madame de Pompadour and the XVIIIth century French royal court at Versailles. It featured 115 looks with an abundance of embroidery, push-up bras and variations on leather, one of Alaïa’s fetish materials.

Azzedine Alaïa’s fascination with Madame de Pompadour was partly due to the discovery he made when he bought and renovated the building at 18, rue de la Verrerie, Paris, in 1987. It was there in fact that the young Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, the future Marquise de Pompadour and mistress of Louis XV, was schooled in the arts necessary to forge ahead at the royal court.

It is no coincidence that the Azzedine Alaïa Association chose the same building as the venue for the new exhibition: it was where Alaïa lived with his life partner, the painter Christoph von Weyhe, where he established his atelier and received his clients, business associates and friends for nearly 30 years. The building is also home to the Azzedine Alaïa Association, founded by the designer in 2007, and now run by his friend, gallerist Carla Sozzani, and Christoph von Weyhe.
In parallel with the exhibition, publisher Assouline will release a book, also entitled "L’alchimie secrète d’une collection", featuring photographs taken by Prosper Assouline in 1991, when he was allowed to enter Azzedine Alaïa’s atelier while the collection’s show was being prepared.

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