Alaïa, the fashion revolution.
Characterised by a masterful understanding of the female form, Alaïa creations show women to their best advantage, making them look and feel beautiful with figure-hugging forms. In the 1980s, the designer revolutionised the fashion of the time thanks to his exquisitely cut dresses. Plays on materials, especially leather, jersey and exotic leathers, and working in three dimensions around the body are a major part of Azzedine Alaïa's signature.
The couturier who makes women look and feel amazing.
Azzedine Alaïa, originally from Tunisia, moved to Paris at the end of the 1950s. Very early on, his pronounced taste for fashion and his eye for detail attracted the attention of a very closed circle of social butterflies. It was only in 1979 that the couturier presented his first collection and was able to impose his vision of what fashion should be. The female form was at the very heart of his sources of inspiration: he elaborated the cuts of his clothing in order to reveal women's sensuality and showcase their attributes. Soon recognised for his figure-hugging and sexy designs, this architect of fashion was behind the body-conscious trend. The fascination with Alaïa collections extended far beyond the borders and drew admiration from international stars like Grace Jones, Tina Turner and Naomi Campbell, who used to call the French-Tunisian designer "Papa".
Following the takeover of the House of Alaïa by the Prada group in 2000, Azzedine Alaïa, who was still creative director, extended its ranges and launched a line of bags, shoes and accessories. His leather goods are still famous for the superior quality of the workmanship and the legendary laser-cut cutouts.
The grand couturier who is the height of discretion.
In ten years, Azzedine Alaïa remained discreet whilst successfully making a name for himself, preferring to present his collections in the intimate surroundings of his workshops rather than the hustle and bustle of Fashion Week. An artisan at heart, he cherished his independence and in 2007 he bought his fashion house back from the Prada group, going into partnership with the Compagnie Financière Richemont. His nonconformist nature and his obsession with perfection made him one of the great couturiers, recognised and admired by his peers. Whereas all the other luxury fashion houses brought out their new collections to coincide with Fashion Week, the couturier believed that creativity could not be subjected to a schedule and decided to swim against the current. He sketched very little, preferring to sculpt his dresses on mannequins, giving life to his designs from the word go. The Tunisian designer presented his last Azzedine Alaïa collection in July 2017, and left a huge void in the world of haute couture when he died in November 2017.
His love for women's bodies and his eternal quest for perfection marked the history of fashion and his dresses, still worn in the four corners of the globe, are the embodiment of pure sensuality. Of the cult pieces by Alaïa, the following are especially noteworthy: