This new Azzedine Alaia exhibition in Paris is not to be missed

A shared retrospective on Azzedine Alaia and Cristobal Balenciaga opened in Paris on Jan. 21. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 January 2020

This new Azzedine Alaia exhibition in Paris is not to be missed

  • Held under the direction of Olivier Saillard, the new exhibition will run until June 28, 2020
  • The exhibition marks the first time the two couturier’s designs are showcased alongside each other

PARIS: A shared retrospective on Azzedine Alaia and Cristobal Balenciaga, a designer whom the late Tunisian couturier admired, opened in Paris on Jan. 21 and will run until June 28. The six-month long exhibition, entitled “Sculptors of Shapes,” is the second parallel retrospective curated by Association Azzedine Alaia, following the success of last year’s “Adrian and Alaia: The Art of Tailoring.”




The shared retrospective was curated by Olivier Saillard. (Photo: Arab News)

Held under the direction of  Olivier Saillard — who curated “Azzedine Alaïa: Je suis couturier” and “Adrian and Alaia: The Art of Tailoring”— the new exhibition features 56 garments designed over the course of their respective careers in an effort to spotlight the similarities in the couturier’s tailoring, choice of fabrics and cuts.




Alaia was an avid collector of Balenciaga’s work. (Photo: Arab News)

It is the first time the two couturier’s designs are showcased alongside each other. The striking designs are presented in a white labyrinth of white mesh panels that was designed by American multimedia artist Kris Ruhs.

According to Carla Sozzani, a close friend of the late Tunisian couturier and the president of Association Alaia, it was one of Balenciaga’s protégés, Hubert de Givenchy (who died in 2018) who proposed the idea of a duet show on a visit to Alaia’s Marais studio.

Alaia was an avid collector of the Spanish designer’s work. It is said that the late couturier had collected over 400 pieces from Balenciaga over the years, including garments, furniture and art.




The exhibition marks the first time the two couturier’s designs are showcased alongside each other. (Photo: Arab News)

It was almost by chance that the late Tunisian couturier began collecting Balenciaga’s work. Shortly after the Spaniard shuttered his eponymous fashion house in 1968, Alaia was contacted by the deputy director of Balenciaga at the time to take the liberty of cutting new models from the dresses stored in the defunct workshop. However, a young Alaia chose to keep them intact and thus began building up an archive that would mark the beginning of a great collection.




  It was one of Balenciaga’s protégés, the late Hubert de Givenchy, who proposed the idea of a duet show. (Photo: Arab News)

The exhibition comes over two years after the passing of the late couturier, who died of heart failure in November 2017 in Paris.

The Association Azzedine Alaia, which was founded by Alaia, Carla Sozzani and Christoph Von Weyhe in 2007, hopes to organize three exhibitions a year featuring Alaia’s work and his extensive collection of fashion, furniture and photography.


High stakes in Johnny Depp libel hearing

Updated 13 July 2020

High stakes in Johnny Depp libel hearing

  • The 57-year-old denies abusing actress Amber Heard — now 34 and the global face of French cosmetics firm L’Oreal
  • Some legal experts following the High Court hearing in London question why Depp decided to put himself through the three-week ordeal

LONDON: Hollywood star Johnny Depp wrapped up five days of gruelling testimony Monday in a libel trial that has exposed the dark underbelly of the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise hero is suing the publisher and executive editor of Britain’s The Sun tabloid newspaper over a 2018 story branding him a “wife beater.”
The 57-year-old denies abusing actress Amber Heard — now 34 and the global face of French cosmetics firm L’Oreal — during a rocky two-year marriage that ended in a messy 2017 divorce and several lawsuits.
But he has admitted a debilitating drug habit and allowed the defense to air graphic details of 14 assault allegations that made headlines around the world.
Some legal experts following the High Court hearing in London question why Depp decided to put himself through the three-week ordeal given the subject matter being aired.
“He’s been extremely ill-advised to pursue this,” Mark Stephens, a leading media specialist at London law firm Howard Kennedy, told AFP.
“To expose (difficult divorces) to forensic examination is the height of stupidity or hubris.”
Here are the main points that have emerged from the trial so far.
Hollywood’s drug culture has provided the backdrop for the entire hearing.
Depp told the court on Friday that he snorted cocaine to help break his addiction to painkillers.
He argued Thursday that he was suffering from withdrawal while coming off of drugs and was in “no physical condition” to hurt Heard during one alleged incident on his private Bahamas island.
Depp further explained the party drug ecstasy had little effect on him and that he preferred to leave it to Heard and their celebrity friends.
The actress herself was alleged to have sent a party invitation with instructions: “Bring some food, booze and drug of choice, yey!“
Another text Heard allegedly sent from Depp’s phone asked a friend to “procure more mushrooms.”
“Amber Turd” began trending on Twitter after Depp spent a part of Friday trying to explain how a large stool ended up in the couple’s bed in 2016.
Both of them were alleged to have been involved in extramarital affairs at the time and Depp claimed it was left there as revenge by either Heard or one of her friends on her 30th birthday.
Depp called the defense’s claim that it was from one of their dogs “physically impossible” because it was simply too big.
“There were jokes like ‘Amber Turd’, ‘Amber in the dumps’ going on,” defense attorney Sasha Wass told Depp sternly.
Depp professed his innocence and called the incident a “mystery.”
One of the darkest episodes involves an allegedly high and drunk Depp scrawling messages to Heard on a mirror and wall with the blood of his severed finger.
Depp acknowledges dipping the finger in a can of paint to continue writing once the bleeding stopped.
But he denies tripping on ecstasy at the time and claims Heard slashed off the tip of his finger with a bottle during a particularly bad fight.
The defense says he hurt it while “completely destroying” the couple’s vacation home in Australia.
Depp said Thursday that he was experiencing “some kind of breakdown” and was feeling suicidal at the time.
Mark Stephens said both Depp and Heard had plenty to lose and little to gain from the proceedings.
“His reputation will be permanently stained if he is found to be abusive.”
And “if Heard is not to be believed, she will find it very hard to find work in Hollywood.”
British libel law puts the burden of proof on the defense and gives Depp the initial advantage.
But the judge told Heard her upcoming testimony would not be bound by “confidentiality restrictions” agreed in the divorce.
Depp may find it even harder to clear his name in a separate defamation lawsuit he filed over an op-ed about the alleged abuse that Heard wrote in The Washington Post.
That hearing is expected to begin in August in Virginia under US laws putting the burden of proof on Depp.