Beautiful dresses on display at the Borghese Museum in Rome

Beautiful dresses on display at the Borghese Museum in Rome

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Designers, celebrities and more turned out to celebrate the opening of the fashion exhibit celebrating Azzedine Alaïa and his “Couture/Sculpture: Azzedine Alaïa in the History of Fashion” this summer in Rome at the Galleria Borghese.

Maria Grazia Chiuri, who attended the vernissage cocktail and dinner, was still recovering from the emotions of that other big fashion event in the Italian capital: Valentino’s couture show the previous evening and 12 interviews that day. “I have never seen our staff and the seamstresses so moved by the show,” said Chiuri, speaking of the decision to hold the event in Rome. The brand’s cocreative director Pierpaolo Piccioli arrived a few minutes later with Alber Elbaz, who posed cheerfully for the photographers. “You have to,” he responded, asked about his easy attitude toward the photo op. Of Alaïa’s style, he said: “The one and only.”

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Carla Sozzani, a longtime friend of Alaïa’s who later led him in a brief dance during an impromptu performance by Vittorio Grigolo to the sound of “Volare” after dinner and a short castanet show, said it was especially “emotional when we saw all the looks uncovered at the same time” at the museum. Sozzani, who was also joined by her sister Franca, said what she found most inspiring is how Alaïa “perfects his own work, he is not looking for new trends but at always improving his own designs.”

Other guests included Ava McAvoy, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, Peter and Harry Brant, Carla Fendi, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Delfina Delettrez Fendi, Ilaria Fendi, Diana Picasso, Lavinia Biagiotti, Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi.

Alaia, who studied sculpture at the Ecole des beaux arts, has always been fascinated by the feminine silhouette and dressed iconic figures such as Greta Garbo, Tina Turner or Grace Jones.

Azzedine Alaïa has always been more of a sculptor than a fashion designer, holding his shows only when inspiration strikes and following the curves of the body instead of trends.

In “Azzedine AlaïaCouture/Sculpture,” his sinuous work seems right at home slipped between the gallery’s collection of works by Bernini, Canova, Raphael, Rubens, Caravaggio, Titian and Veronese.

The 65 pieces, which span the Tunisian’s entire 34 year career in Paris, are culled from his archive and include many he remade specifically for the show. Two of his gladiator skirted knit dresses stand behind Bernini’s David.

The room in which Bernini’s Apollo reaches out to Daphne as she turns into a tree is filled with his pieces made in sharkskin, horse hair and shells, and there are mummy-like bandage dresses are on display in the Egyptian room.

“Alaïa is the visitor,” says curator Mark Wilson who has worked with the designer on four previous shows, including Alaïa’s first retrospective at Holland’s Groninger Museum in 1998 and its follow up there in 2012. “He’s responding to the works of art as a guest of the Galleria.”

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For Alaia the Borghese remains a special place. «I adore this place. I have visited it hundreds of times. But I have never thought of exhibiting here my clothes. It is a dream come true»

What a beautiful exhibition, on until October 25th.

For tickets, book here

To Book a Borghese Museum Tour with Italy’s Best, book here.

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