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Azzedine Alaïa with Didine

Legendary designer Azzedine Alaïa has passed away

He leaves behind a legacy that earned him the nickname the King of Cling

We are sad to report that legendary designer Azzedine Alaïa has passed away aged 77, according to French magazine Le Point. However, it is unknown exactly how old he was, as for years he maintained that his birth year was something he tried to forget. 

Born in Tunisia, he got his start in fashion working for a dressmaker. He would copy the designs of European couture houses for women, a skillset that stood him in good stead when he moved to Paris age 17. He got a job working with the young Yves Saint Laurent at Dior, and then Guy Laroche, also working with Thierry Mugler before setting up his own house.

The label Alaïa founded in 1980 became best known for his use of technical, body-conscious fabrics and his love of the female form (earning him the nickname the King of Cling.)

Despite his pioneering designs, being a trailblazer was never his objective. Instead, he wanted to admire women and dress them powerfully. “The basis is always the woman, the body you dress,” he told Susannah Frankel in the Autumn/Winter 2016 issue of AnOther Magazine. “I’m not thinking about being fashion-y or revolutionary...I never thought about being a famous designer or a couturier. I admire women because it’s thanks to them that I do what I do. I’m not interested in the noise around fashion.”

Alaia left the traditional schedule in 1992. He instead presented his work to a small crowd of friends and press in his own time, or as he would put it, “It’s ready when it’s ready.” His last show, however, took place during the Couture shows – back in July, it was both opened and closed by Naomi Campbell.

While Alaïa’s legacy will undoubtedly remain forever, his presence in the industry will be missed by many. Our thoughts are with all who knew and loved him.

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