POP CULTURE: Long before high/low fashion collaborations were a thing, Azzedine Alaïa worked with the most popular of Paris retail institutions, Tati, building a collection based on its famous checked motif and creating a capsule for the Barbès landmark, a magnet for bargain hunters for decades.
That collaboration — and Alaïa’s spring 1991 collection built around it — is the subject of the latest exhibition staged at the Azzedine Alaïa Association, opening to the public Monday.
“Today, everyone talks about collaboration and co-branding, but Azzedine was the first to initiate a partnership between a mass-market retailer — and it really was mass-market. Tati at the time was quite rough, it was like a sociological study in clothing,” explained Olivier Saillard, director of the “Azzedine Alaïa, Another Way to Look at Fashion: The Tati Collection” exhibition, which runs through Jan. 5.
“Azzedine, at the time when he went to Tunis, had this strong memory of people arriving from France with giant pink gingham Tati bags filled to bursting. The owner of Tati at the time was also a fellow Tunisian,” Saillard explained at the exhibition opening event on Sunday.
As well as the check pieces in black, blue or red and white, which made up
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