Alaïa’s Tati

Azzedine Alaïa’s curiosity for exploring all things new and unique is legendary. His wide-ranging interests in art, architecture, music, and global cultures would often bring forward new and unexpected insights into both contemporary dialogue and the tempo of the times. Fashion and art always influenced his approach to couture. So it was not unusual that in 1991, art once again opened another path, expanding the world of Azzedine’s fashion. As always, his eye saw the pulse of the times. Inspired by his friend Julian Schnabel’s paintings, Alaïa was the first to take couture to the street. “It happened thanks to my friend Julian Schnabel, he wanted to make paintings with the vichy check fabric that was in fact the signature emblem of Tati”. Alaïa’s spontaneous and fresh approach to fashion led him to create what would later become a marketing model – collaborations between high fashion and street fashion – appearing for the first time on the Alaïa runway with the Tati collection. As he would later say when asked about the iconic spring-summer 1991 outing, “with Tati I learned many things, another way to look at fashion”. He used the trademark pink and white vichy check print fabric of the popular shopping store TATI, where every day Parisians would hunt for the best bargains. The history of the TATI stores was a part of Paris, part of the life of the city, and a part of his own journey from Tunisia through the working class neighborhoods where the TATI checked pattern could be seen. To join his world of Parisian couture with the streets of Paris was his pride. He would add the black and white and the blue and white patterns, something new for Tati, exclusive to the Alaïa collection, and he would offer his designs to customers at the lowest price in a small collection consisting of a bag, a T shirt, and a pair of espadrilles to be sold at TATI stores. Oh, Alaïa…

La Collection Tati, curated by Olivier Saillard, on view until 05.01.2020 at Association Azzedine Alaïa in Paris.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.