It was announced that the Tunisian-born designer had passed on just this evening. Famed for his body-clinging silhouettes made popular by a string of A-listers (hence the nickname by the media ‘The King of Cling’), Alaïa was revered as one of the most successful designers of the 1980s.
Born in Tunisia in 1940, Alaïa took up sculpting in school but ended up dipping his toes in the fashion industry, moving to Paris in 1957 after his short stint as a dressmaker’s assistant. In Paris, he landed a job at Christian Dior but moved to Guy Laroche shortly after, later on working at Thierry Mugler. After gaining a growing list of high-profile clientele (and patronage), he opened his atelier in an apartment in the late 1970s. Fervent supporters include Hollywood’s glitterati of the seventies, from Marie-Hélène de Rothschild to Greta Garbo.
Noted for his independence, the designer chose to present collections as and when he liked, forgoing the regular fashion rosters that other designers in the industry subscribed to. “Shows are not important to me. But it is one way of expressing my work,” he said. Most recently, he presented his Fall 2017 Couture collection this July after a six-year hiatus, with close friend and supermodel Naomi Campbell opening and closing the show.
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