Designer Azzedine Alaïa French, born Tunisia

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Azzedine Alaïa is known for his exacting standards and for his pairing of traditional couture techniques with innovative materials. Since the 1950s he has studied the work of other master couturiers, including Charles James, whose “La Sirène” dress (2009.300.2915) informed this design. Here, alternating bands of black and white knit highlight the contours of the figure, echoing the effect created by James’s precise tucks. The black sections are composed of houpette, a fabric developed for Alaïa that uses short tufts of nylon designed to have the feel of swan’s down. Alaïa’s knitwear subtly sculpts the body by creating varied tension in precise areas, but it ultimately relies on the wearer’s form for structural support.

Dress, Azzedine Alaïa (French (born Tunisia), Tunis 1935–2017 Paris), Acetate, rayon, nylon, Spandex, metal, French

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