MILAN — Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli; Diego Della Valle, who controls the Schiaparelli brand, and Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour gathered at Milan’s Palazzo Reale on Friday for a luncheon event that anticipated this spring’s “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” exhibition at the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“I like the life of people, I read her autobiography — I always like autobiographies, and I see her more as a human being,” said Prada of the parallel between her work and Schiaparelli’s. “I guess we both broke schemes, although in different eras, but I like the idea of lives more.” Bertelli was equally understated, saying that “this is a distinction, but we must continue our work and go on.”
The exhibition, which will be held May 10 to Aug. 19, will feature about 80 designs by Schiaparelli from the late Twenties through the early Fifties, and Prada from the late Eighties through to the current day. Fourteen pieces were on display Friday, juxtaposing each designer’s viewpoint on intricate Baroque curls or natural themes, for example.
“It’s a great celebration of a brand that made history in global fashion,” said Della Valle. “It’s a great privilege for us as owners of a label that we will relaunch in 2013.”
Before the presentation by Metropolitan Museum president Emily Rafferty and Costume Institute curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton, Wintour said she was pleased by the decision “to pay honor to two such extraordinary women,” after several exhibitions focused on the work of men. “Here is a look at two cultivated artistic women, it’s a joy to work on it.”
Although Schiaparelli died in 1973, Koda said the designer still has a voice. “It was a challenge to find a designer of equal stature, who was also engaged by contemporary art and pushed the boundaries,” he noted.
Bolton said that while superficial pairings first emerged, he realized that both Prada and Schiaparelli expressed “complex ideas and political attitudes” with their fashion, which was also a “vehicle to provoke.” As two “strong-minded, independent women,” each developed ideas revolving on “men’s wear, ugly chic and nation” in their own “subversive, counter-cultural” way.
“Would they have been friends?” concluded Bolton with a smile.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast