(Photo: Raftermen/SCAD)

The museum exhibit that is tailored for tailoring

The SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta is hosting their new exhibit “Alaïa-Adrian: Masters of Cut” celebrating famed costume designers, Azzedine Alaïa and Gilbert Adrian. Both designers are known for their detailed tailoring and creating striking figures through the precision of their designs. Azzedine Alaïa utilizes precise designs using a laser-cutting technique to create dynamic silhouettes, drawing inspiration from Gilbert Adrian’s designs.

Gilbert Adrian is known for his work as the head of costume design for MGM from 1928 to 1941, during the Golden Age of Hollywood dressing stars including his muse Greta Garbo. You might also be familiar with Adrian’s most famous piece of work and the most famous piece of film memorabilia, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the 1931 film “The Wizard of Oz.” Gilbert also styled silver-screen stars including Joan Crawford and Katherine Hepburn.

Adrian created one of his most striking and iconic silhouettes in 1942 accentuating the slim waist with the padded-power-shoulders for women off-screen, launching his ready-to-wear line in specialty stores and opening his Beverly Hills atelier. This look inspired Alaïa’s line from the 80s, another era heavily influenced by Adrian’s designs.

After Adrian’s passing in 2017, Alaïa started collecting Adrian’s original pieces and amassed a collection of over 150 pieces. The Foundation Azzedine Alaïa debuted a small piece of the exhibit in Paris last year named “Adrian and Alaïa: The Art of Tailoring.”

Alaïa’s idea behind the exhibit came from wanting to share Adrian’s original pieces to the public and offer a masterclass in tailoring including some of her own pieces inspired by Adrian. This educational exhibition focusing on the principles of technique emphasizing the meticulous craft, skill, ingenuity, and resourcefulness with 27 suit-based looks per design.

The exhibition displays Adrian’s pieces from 1942-1952 and Alaïa’s designs from her Winter 1986 to Winter 2012 collections. The display for their designs are simple and minimal to emphasize the designs with a backdrop inspired by Irving Penn. They also configured the pieces giving the visitors a 360-degree view.

The 360-degree display can give visitors the chance to see the front and the back because Adrian was known for creating a garment with a simple back, putting all the elaborate details on the front since his pieces were made to be seen on-screen. Adrian faced some fashion challenges during World War II in 1943 when they enacted the L-85 law, restricting the use of materials that were needed to contribute to the war effort.

If you want to see this amazing collection for yourself head to the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film where the exhibit will be on display until September 13.