In 2009, Michele Obama broke with the tradition of the First Lady wearing dresses by American designers to major events; her choice for a NATO dinner and for the American Ballet Theatre in New York was the Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alia, whose list of clients includes some of the most noteworthy woman of the age including Greta Garbo, Grace Jones, Victoria Beckham, Lada Gaga, Carla Bruni and so it goes on.
Viewing the exhibition created by Mark Wilson from The Groninger Museum, you can see why. These are beautiful sculptural clothes designed for elegance and for perfection, perhaps hinting to Alaia’s training as a sculptor before he became a fashion designer. You feel that they are clothes for women who are slim, tall and graceful; these are clothes in which to be admired and Mark Wilson has recreated some of that glamour with the designers of the exhibition who were friends and the partner of Alaia: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson, Kris Ruhs and Christoh von Weyhe, each of whom has designed a screen against which the clothes, photographs and drawings are shown. You feel that you are walking into a very special place, perhaps in Bond Street or Fifth Avenue, from which to decide what to wear from that very special occasion.
This is a place of transformation and magic.