05.25.2024 – 05.26.2024


open to the public

Fashion Release

Azzedine Alaïa Foundation

The MA in Fashion Studies continues its collaboration with the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation on the exploration of heritage and fashion with a project on the couturier and artist Elsa Schiaparelli. Students had the unique opportunity to work in collaboration with the Foundation and explore the pieces collected of Elsa Schiaparelli by Azzedine Alaïa. They specifically focused on two crucial events: the auction ‘Elsa Schiaparelli : Garde-robe de 1935 à 1950’ in 2009 by Cornette de Saint Cyr that took place at Drouot; and the exhibition ‘Schiaparelli’ curated by Azzedine Alaïa his Gallery on the occasion of this auction. These two events were the starting point for the students’ research within the course ‘Fashion, Memory and the Politics of Heritage’, taught by Antoine Bucher. They questioned ways in which the field of heritage studies can make us rethink the meaning of fashion heritage andd investigated how Elsa Schiaparelli has been historicized by designers, curators, academics, private collectors and cultural institutions.

The installation shows a part of this research process, displaying a video and some key documents from the Azzedine Alaïa Collection with a specific focus on the unique examples of press releases by Elsa Schiaparelli collected by Azzedine Alaïa. These overlooked documents are shown to stress the importance of press releases in creating and controlling a discourse about fashion and media. In the case of Schiaparelli, these documents present a unique narrative that concurs today to a more artistic way of thinking about fashion and its heritage beyond garment. Alongside these, we exhibit a selection of quotes from academic books in heritage studies and documents from Diktats, a bookshop focusing on historical fashion documents and ephemera. These sources were used by students to put into a larger context the construction of the heritage of Elsa Schiaparelli in relation to surrealism, feminism and colonial discourse. 

Exhibition open May 25-May 26 from 11am to 8 pm