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Feb 24, 2023
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The Azzedine Alaïa Foundation explores the liberation of the female body

Translated by
Feb 24, 2023

They are among the greatest supermodels in history. Through Arthur Elgort's fashion photographs and the retrospective 'Azzedine Alaïa, Arthur Elgort. En Liberté', we rediscover how the Franco-Tunisian couturier liberated women's bodies, dressing models and supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Grace Jones.

The designer took Naomi Campbell under his wing when she was 16, during a photoshoot in Paris in 1986 with Arthur Elgort - Fondation Azzedine Alaïa

The Azzedine Alaïa Foundation retrospective looks at the influence these two men had on the history of fashion in the 1980s, even though neither of them had any intention of making a career in fashion.

On the one hand, Azzedine Alaïa grew up and studied sculpture at the Beaux-Arts in Tunis. When he moved to Paris in 1956, he did bedroom couture work for selected clients (such as Simone Zehrfuss and Louise de Vilmorin). He worked for Thierry Mugler and gained experience as a designer before founding his eponymous house in the early 1980s.

On the other hand, New Yorker Arthur Elgort was destined to become a painter, but then changed his mind when he bought a Polaroid from a camera shop. He collaborated with Vogue magazine throughout his life, and became a fashion photographer, immortalising subjects wearing no make-up in natural light. A stylistic exercise that led him to desacralise designer clothing, to democratise it in the eyes of all.

American model Veronica Webb and Azzedine Alaïa, in Paris, in 1986, shot by Arthur Elgort - Fondation Azzedine Alaïa

Together, they shaped the freedom and feminine clothing of women in the eighties. Between studio and darkroom, they drew with spontaneity and virtuosity, a determined, independent and assertive woman, embodied in models such as Naomi Campbell, Veronica Webb, Frederique Van der Wal, Christy Turlington or Linda Spierings.

33 timeless and confidential shots to revisit the iconography of the great couturier and his most iconic creations. Work scenes punctuated by the smiles of his muses and intimate shots highlighting the spark of mischief in Azzedine Alaïa's eye.

Exhibition "Azzedine Alaïa, Arthur Elgort. En liberté."
Dates: Monday January 23 to Sunday August 20, 2023
Location: Azzedine Alaïa Foundation, 18, rue de la Verrerie (Paris IV)

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