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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
Snigdha Ahuja
Snigdha Ahuja
Hindustan Times
Azzedine Alaia,Alaia,Tunisia
Azzedine Alaïa, the Tunisian-French designer died on November 18, 2017. His funeral was held at the Sidi Bou Said cemetery in Tunis,Tunisia.(Ed Alcock/The New York Times)

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.

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.


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