‘Another Way to Look at Fashion, The Tati Collection’
(at the Azzedine Alaïa Association)
Walk down le boulevard Barbès in Paris’ 18ᵉ arrondissement and you’re bound to come across one of its most iconic eye-sores: the (huge) pink gingham logo sign of French department store Tati — otherwise known as the nation’s bargain-shopping treasure cove — and now the unlikely subject of a chic, new exhibition in the capital, spotlighting the company’s collaboration with world-famous fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa. Bizarre but true!
Years before Karl Lagerfeld made his famous capsule for H&M, Alaïa lent his beautiful vision to Tati in the form of a stylish Spring/Summer 1991 collection du mode — which is still very sought-after today — and is now available for viewing as an exhibition of works which opened this week at the Azzedine Alaïa Association (Galerie & Librairie Azzedine Alaïa) in the Marais.
What’s more — the designer reportedly approached the Parisian favorite bon marché franchise to collaborate, and the exhibition — dubbed ‘ Another Way to Look at Fashion, The Tati Collection’ — will showcase a variety of pieces based on its famous checked motif, which made about half of the spring 1991 collection in tribute to the Barbès landmark.
This limited-edition event is so fashionable, in fact, that maven du mode Carine Roitfeld — former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris — has even deigned it special enough to score a dedicated spotlight in her own online magazine CR Fashion Book (she’s the editor) — which is backed by publishing giant Hearst. You can check out a summary of their snazzy little write-up here:
“A magnet for bargain hunters for decades, Tati was founded in 1948 in post-war France by Jules Ouaki, a Sephardic jeweler from the La Goulette district of Tunis, Tunisia, who settled in Paris after serving in the resistance. Ouaki pioneered self-service bulk selling in bins, and touted a catchy slogan, “Tati, les plus bas prix” (“Tati, the cheapest price”).
The name was derived from the nickname of his mother Esther, Tita, and its concept democratized French fashion, particularly with textiles for clothing and home. Tati’s logo itself consisted of bright pink vichy or gingham print with bright blue lettering. As the company grew, the familiar shop awnings became emblematic of Paris almost as much as the Eiffel Tower or the corner bistro sidewalk café (via CRFashionBook.com).
As well as a selection of check pieces in black, blue or red and white — some of them actually made from Tati canvas, others reproducing the motif on cotton or knits — the exhibition features artworks by Julian Schnabel, a close friend of Alaïa’s who was the original inspiration behind the collection.
The exhibit also features sketches by Thierry Perez, representing the designs, and photos and film footage by Ellen Von Unwerth showing some of history’s most famous supermodels, such as Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington, wearing the pieces.
Specific pieces from the capsule collection designed for Tati — such as a pair of espadrilles, a bag and a T-shirt — are not on display, however — but it’s still well worth a gander on a chilled Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Perfect for: A fashionable weekend gallery excursion, when you’re feeling en vogue and want a hit of window shopping with a twist.
Address: 18 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris (Google Maps)
Dates & times: ‘Another Way to Look at Fashion, The Tati Collection’ - Juil 01, 2019 - Jan 05, 2020 // Monday-Friday: 11am-7pm.