Maverick fashion designer Azzedine Alaia dies aged 77

Death of French-Tunisian designer, who rose to fame in the 1980s, met with outpouring of tributes from fashion world

Death of French-Tunisian designer, who rose to fame in the 1980s, met with outpouring of tributes from fashion world

Alaia, who was French-Tunisian, rose to fame in the 1980s, refused to march to the beat of international fashion weeks, releasing his collections in his own time with little concern for publicity.

“We have lost a designer of great talent. It is very sad news,” said designer Pierre Cardin.

There was an outpouring of tributes from fashion-lovers online, with designer Inès de la Fressange tweeting: “Small in stature but huge in the world. Adieu Azzedine Alaia.”

“I like women,” he said in a 2013 interview. “I never think about doing new things, about being creative, but about making clothing that will make women beautiful.”

He joked at the time: “It’s better that I come clean about it while I’m alive – I won’t give a damn about it when I’m dead.”

His catwalk shows at his shop in Paris’s chic Marais district were low-key as well, earning a loyal clientele of fashionistas who wanted luxury without showing off.

He signed a development deal with Prada in 2000, but quit seven years later to work with Swiss luxury group Richemont.

Perhaps due to his training as a sculptor, Alaia worked on his designs from their conception in 3D, rarely visualising them first using pen and paper. Global success did not change his working habits and he continued throughout his career to work deep into the night, often to the soundtrack of old movies.

“With him, everything was at its height – couture, art, the demand he put on people,” said François-Henri Pinault, the chief executive of luxury group Kering.

His final show, in July, was opened by supermodel Naomi Campbell – one of his protegees – who affectionately knew him as “Papa”.

 

November 20, 2017

Sources:` NBC ; New York Post ; The Guardian

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