The King of Cling: The World Remembers Tunisian Designer Azzedine Alaia
By Reem Tolba
The world has been mourning over the loss of one of its great talents. The gifted Tunisian fashion designer, Azzedine Alaia, passed away last night, 18th of November, in Paris at the age of 77.
The legendary man, who was also known as The King of Cling, had devotees all over the world, from royals to celebrities — and they’ve been reminiscing their fondest memories with him on Instagram, and it is honestly getting to us so emotional.
Adieu à un artiste exceptionnel, vous allez nous manquer beaucoup, merci pour votre bonté et gentillesse, ce fut un honneur et une joie de vous connaître. Le monde a perdu un génie et une référence dans le monde de l’art et de la mode et moi j’ai perdu un ami pour qui j’ai le plus grand respect.. Il n’y a pas de mots pour exprimer la peine que je ressens.. 💔🖤 RIP @azzedinealaiaofficial
“Alaia was a visionary, and a remarkable man. But most importantly, he will be deeply missed by all of those who knew him, as well as by the women around the world who wore his clothes,” Edward Enninful, the Editor of Vogue, said.
The Tunisian designer was born in 1940, where came from a very simple farmer background. His twin sisters were his inspiration to the world of fashion. Entering the fashion scene wasn’t an easy feat for Alaia — he had to lie about his age to get himself into the local École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis.
This picture was taken last week, in his legendary kitchen at the legendary 7, rue de Moussy ..he was laughing , cracking jokes and in good spirits, I promised him hot peppers from the south of Egypt the next time I would see him, but I did not know there would be no « next time ».. How fragile we are .. but Your legacy , Monsieur Alaïa, is immortal.. My heart is with you @montassaralaia , I can only imagine the void you are feeling .. in my prayers.💔💔💔 #azzedinealaiaofficial #Alaia
In 1980, he produced his first ready-to-wear collection, and four years later he was voted the Best Designer of the Year and the Best Collection of the Year at the Oscars de la Mode.
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell. He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Devotees included both fashion-inclined celebrities and fashionistas such as Grace Jones, Tina Turner, Raquel Welch, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Brigitte Nielsen, Naomi Campbell, Shakira and Carla Sozzani and much more.
And of course, let us not forget the First Lady of France, Carla Bruni who wore him in 2009 in Spain and his regular client, Michelle Obama.
I’ll mourn forever the loss of my friend. A true genius in not only fashion but in his heart. He was a king and had the highest standards of design and work ethic. He was so giving, so loving, his heart so full and pure. I️’d watch in awe as he hand made each and every piece, his fingers touching the fabric like poetry. Then he would want to feed us all, and cook with his own hands and talk for hours at the table while his dogs would run around joyfully smelling the delicious food he made us. To say he was special would be an understatement. To say he was integral, important and influential to fashion is simply not enough. There was no one who did what he did. No one knew a woman’s body like him. He should be celebrated as one of the greatest fashion designers the world has ever known. I️ love you, Azzedine. I️’m devastated I️ didn’t get to say goodbye. I️ love you.
His death came as a shock to the world of fashion, and the world of art. He was always a humble man who did not care for publicity, but only his work and his loved ones.
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. 💙💙💙 #azzedinealaia #naomialaia
If there was one designer in fashion who won unanimous respect and admiration, it was Azzedine Alaïa. As news of his death breaks, here he is pictured with a few of his long-time friends. Tap the link in our bio as we pay homage to the designer, who has passed away, aged 77. #azzedinealaia #alaia #azzedinealaïa #alaïa #jeanpaulgoude #johngalliano #jeanpaulgaultier #naomicampbell #vogue #vogueparis #voguehommes