Remembering Azzedine Alaïa, his sculpted creations and design aesthetics
Born in Tunisia, Azzedine Alaïa, also known as the King of Cling, died in Paris, his home, on November 18.fashion and trends Updated: Nov 21, 2017 16:39 IST
Among the biggest couture powerhouses in fashion, there are those who are recognised not for their mass popularity, but for shunning the trappings of publicity. Azzedine Alaïa, was perhaps one of those rarities.
Born in Tunisia, Africa, in 1940 (or 1935, as some reports suggest), Alaïa died in Paris on Saturday, November 18. Dubbed the King of Cling for creating clothes that accentuate the curves of a woman and embrace them like second skin, he stayed away from the conventional fashion calendar, rebelling against big names like American Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Chanel fashion director Karl Lagerfeld. From model-actor Grace Jones’s hooded gown to dressing up former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, his clientele was widespread. Even Bollywood actors like Sonam Kapoor and Katrina Kaif wore Alaïa on more than one occasion. The French national was also instrumental in the career of his muses like supermodels Naomi Campbell and Farida Khelfa.
Dear papa , I was blessed in my life to meet you and for your embrace at 16 ,so many wonderful memories of you through out our journey together . I got to experience what it was like to be around a Genius !!! You taught me and opened my eyes to so many things in life , and how to strive for perfection , as you were PERFECTION and UNIQUE and will always be . No one understood the body of a woman more than you . That made us feel good about ourselves inside out . You did all the fatherly duties my unknown father should have . You ignited happiness to all whom were around you , from dancing in the kitchen to playing practical jokes . You protected me and loved me unconditionally . Im eternally , grateful to you the day you picked up the phone and called my mother to tell her you were taking me in . Papa until we meet again on the other side , I know you will continue to guide me , and always be in my heart . May you Rest In Peace I love you papa Ta Fille Naomi 💔🙏🏾. Thank you for all the condolences I have received 🙏🏾
As news of his death broke, tributes poured in. Iconic supermodel Cindy Crawford shared a heartfelt note. “The way he dressed a woman’s body was such a revelation to me as a young model in Chicago because his designs embraced my curves..He made all of his models feel beautiful and the fashion world will never forget him,” she wrote on Instagram.
So sad to wake up to the tragic news that #AzzedineAlaia passed away. Besides being a creative genius, he was one of the sweetest people I have ever met. The way he dressed a woman’s body was such a revelation to me as a young model in Chicago because his designs embraced my curves. One of the very first designer pieces I ever bought myself was one of his famous body suits with a skin tight skirt to match in a gold knit fabric from Ultimo in Chicago. Worn with an Alaia belt cinching in my waist, I felt like a million dollars. What an honor it was to model for him only a few years later in Paris at his atelier. He made all of his models feel beautiful and the fashion world will never forget him. 💔
Mumbai-based designer Nachiket Barve met Alaïa as a design student in 2004.
“I was in Paris when a mentor took me to meet him and we spent time in his studio. It was such a humbling experience because he was not bothered by the trappings of being famous. He cut everything himself, and the first prototype was made entirely by him in the studio,” Barve tells us, adding: “The king of cling title doesn’t do justice. What he did was more sculptural. In today’s world there’s a new trend every six seconds, but, he stuck to his language and kept refining what he did, which was inspiring.”
First Published: Nov 21, 2017 16:28 IST