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Azzedine Alaïa dies at 77

November 20, 2017

Azzedine Alaïa backstage with models at the presentation of the autumn/winter 2017-18 couture collection. Image credit: Azzedine Alaïa


Tunisian-born fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa, founder of the eponymous Richemont-owned label, has died.

Mr. Alaïa launched his house in 1979, which became known for its clinging garments that embraced the female form. Opting out of a fashion system that was getting increasingly fast, Mr. Alaïa gained fans as diverse as Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga.

"King of Cling"
Prior to founding his own label, Mr. Alaïa worked for Guy Laroche and Dior. He showed his first ready-to-wear collection in 1980.

The designer is being remembered for his unyielding commitment to his own vision, as he did not allow his work to be dictated by the traditional fashion calendar or trends. He would often stage his collections outside of the official fashion weeks.

Maison Azzedine Alaïa attracted an investment from Prada. After seven years of ownership, Prada sold the label back to Mr. Alaïa.

Azzedine Alaïa was known for his clinging fashions. Image credit: Azzedine Alaïa

The same year, Richemont acquired an interest in Alaïa.

According to The New York Times, Mr. Alaïa died of a heart attack.

Following the designer’s death, Richemont chairman Johann Rupert said in a statement, “Azzedine Alaïa was not only a colleague but a great friend, so it was with shock and enormous sadness that I heard of his untimely passing.

“The industry has lost an exceptional talent. He was a man of integrity and kindness who was also a true creative genius,” he said. “With his unique approach to couture, he created a distinctive style that will forever set his creations apart.

“Azzedine will be missed by all of us who had the good fortune to work with him. I wish to extend my sincerest condolences to his family and his friends.”