The fashion world pays homage to Azzedine Alaïa

A remarkable legacy


By Wei Yeen Loh

The fashion world pays homage to Azzedine Alaïa

When news of renowned couturier and fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa’s passing broke last weekend, many from the fashion industry responded in shock over his sudden demise. The Tunisian-born, Paris-based designer was most recognised for his sculptural knitted designs alongside his perseverance that never wavered despite the fashion industry’s accelerated pace and systemic changes. Below, find out what the industry’s heavyweights have to say about the extraordinary designer:

“Azzedine Alaïa is a genius; but more than that, he was a wonderful, kind, compassionate, generous and beautiful human being, who it was my privilege to meet, to know and to love, for not long enough. I was always slightly incredulous that he would want to talk to me, and that I could call him my friend. He once told me I wasn’t a friend, I was family. So many people are part of Azzedine’s family, touched by the immense spirit of this amazing man, always in Chinese pyjamas, making magic. Magic in his clothes, of course, but also in the community around him — his family. I don’t speak French; he doesn’t speak English. So how could we talk, for hours, in some of the most inspiring and precious exchanges of my life? I don’t understand it. Regrets are useless, but inevitable. I wish I’d spent more time with him when I could, seen him more. I treasure those times I did get to spend with this incredible man. They say you should never meet your idols. That’s bullshit. I met mine. And he was wonderful.” — Alexander Fury

“He was the designer’s designer… a master of the work he was doing. He was a true engineer of clothes.” — Alber Elbaz

“Azzedine Alaïa made me want to do this job: His celebration of women’s bodies and the assurance he gave them have always inspired me. I was fortunate enough to meet him recently with Naomi [Campbell]. I was touched by his kindness. I feel sad today, but privileged to have known him.” — Anthony Vaccarello

“Such sad news to wake up to today and all I can do is look at photos and videos of happier times with one of the gentlest, feistiest, most loving and adoring talents I have known, inside or outside the fashion industry. I will miss your light in the world so much and am sending love to all who did not get a chance to say goodbye.” — Christy Turlington Burns

“Besides being a creative genius, he was one of the sweetest people I have ever met. 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. One of the very first designer pieces I ever bought myself was one of his famous body suits with a skin tight skirt to match in a gold knit fabric from Ultimo in Chicago. Worn with an Alaia belt cinching in my waist, I felt like a million dollars. What an honour it was to model for him only a few years later in Paris at his atelier. He made all of his models feel beautiful and the fashion world will never forget him.” — Cindy Crawford

“I’m fortunate to have worked a lot with him over the years and loved spending time with him. Alaia was a very sweet, shy man who invented a look that no one has been able to copy. He’s a true fashion legend and will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, my sweet friend.” — Claudia Schiffer




“Azzedine Alaïa was a true visionary, and a remarkable man. He will be deeply missed by all of those who knew and loved him, as well as by the women around the world who wore his clothes. The generosity of his spirit and genius of his designs will never be forgotten. Rest in peace.” — Edward Enninful

“The loss of Azzedine Alaïa resonates deeply with me. Not only was he one of the most seminal couturiers of our time, he was an exceptional human being.  Not only did he define and redefine silhouettes, he marched to the beat of his own drum. He realised his fullest potential as a creator by being true to his artistic vision … No mean feat in a world where we are increasingly losing that precious sense of individuality. Alaïa was a creator, a dreamer, a visionary. His artistic spirit is a loss to us all. Rest now, you have earned it well; you have fought the good fight.” — Dato’ Seri Dr Farah Khan 

“A designer of great talent, who worked on the shapes and proportions of the body as a sculptor, exalting a sensuous and almost timeless beauty. He greatly influenced fashion without ever having been part of the system or complying with seasonal trends. He was an individual voice, who followed his own aesthetic course in total freedom and for this was much loved and admired.” — Giorgio Armani

“God created the woman and Azzedine dressed her.” — Giovanna Engelbert

“I met Monsieur Alaïa for the first time in 2011 when I was invited to a casting for his highly anticipated couture show in Paris. I remember walking into his atelier, between the mountains of fabrics and dresses, and thinking ‘If only these walls could talk.’ Before I knew it, I was sitting at his dinner table, between Alaïa and his dog Dine Dine speaking nearly fluent French. This was something I’d never done so well before — I credit the adrenaline and the sheer amazement of what I was experiencing. I floated through dinner and back into the atelier where I tried on dress after dress… He gave me the privilege of opening his final two couture shows in 2011 and 2017. Never had I felt more special or grateful. May you rest in peace.” — Karlie Kloss




“A true artist, genius and master. He was always kind, friendly and supportive of me. He welcomed me when I first came to Paris. We had some great adventures and many good times. His talent is unparalleled and his playful character generous, naughty and wickedly unique. The exceptional beauty he created is timeless and will without question — live forever. I pray that Azzedine will rest in peace.” — Marc Jacobs

“Just as much a sculptor of clothes as he was a designer of them, he molded dresses to celebrate women’s bodies. His memory will live on for decades to come, reverberating with the impact of what he created, and the iconic words of Cher Horowitz: ‘This is an Alaïa!'” — Man Repeller

“Fashion [has] lost its Master Conductor: Monsieur Alaïa. Thank you for creating a second skin for women to feel protected and empowered. We bow down to your magic.” — Mary Katrantzou

“One of my biggest inspirations. The one who never followed anybody in the fashion world but followed by everybody, the special and loving friend. I will always love and respect you! And celebrate you the way you taught me… I will miss you.” — Riccardo Tisci

“I will miss you so so much Azzedine. You were the warmest, most clever man with the ability to make changes in an industry that craves and needs them desperately. This world was a better place in so many ways having had you and I will miss you very much.” — Stella McCartney

“I don’t know what to add to the words from people who genuinely knew him… but all I can say is how much of a privilege it was to witness that final Azzedine Alaïa couture show in July (a return to the calendar after six years). It was a master class in precision of cut, rigorous self-editing, and above all an honest conviction in what Alaïa believed in, that didn’t bend towards ephemerality. May he rest in peace.” — Susie Lau

“Rest in peace, Azzedine Alaïa. The world is a far less beautiful place today without you. You were a true master and one of my biggest inspirations.” — Victoria Beckham

“Alaia has created timeless designs that till this day women covet. My favourite quote of his is: ‘My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion.’ He was truly the testament to that. Rest in peace.” — Ung Yiu Lin



Explore More