Azzedine Alaia

Azzedine Alaia

Infobox Fashion Designer

name=Azzedine Alaia
birth_date=birth date and age|1940|6|7
education=Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Tunis
awards=Best Designer of the Year (1980)|

Azzedine Alaia ( _ar. عز الدين عليّة, original - Alaïa, pronunciation - Aliya) is a Tunisian-born fashion designer, particularly successful in the 1980s.


Azzedine Alaia was born in Tunis, Tunisia in 1940 to wheat farming parents, and his love for couture was inspired by his glamorous twin sister.cite journal|author=Laurent Dombrowicz|year=2007|month=November|title=Fashion Icons, Azzedine Alaia and Thierry Mugler|journal= [ Wound Magazine] |volume=1|issue=1|pages=112| publisher=Francis Malone|location=London|issn=1755-800X] A French friend of his mother’s fed Alaia’s instinctive creativity with copies of Vogue and lied about his agecite web|url=|title=Azzedine Alaia|work=Fashion Model Directory|year=1999-2007|accessdate=2007-11-05] to get him into the local Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Tunis, where he studied sculpture and gained valuable insights into the human form.cite web|url=|title=Azzedine Alaia|author=Boyd Davis|work=Fashion Windows|year=2001|accessdate=2007-11-05]

After his graduation, Alaia began working as a dressmaker’s assistant. He soon began dressing private clients, and in 1957 he moved to Paris to work in fashion design. In Paris he worked for Guy Laroche for two seasons, then for Thierry Mugler until he opened his first atelier in his tiny rue de Bellechase apartment the late 1970s. By 1980 he had produced his first ready-to-wear collection, moved to larger premises in rue du Parc-Royal in the Marais, and was voted "Best Designer of the Year" by the French Ministry of Culture.

In 1983 he started selling his designs in New York and in Beverly Hills and by 1988 he had opened boutiques in Beverly Hills, New York, and Paris. His seductive, clinging clothes were a massive success, and he was named by the media 'The King of Cling'. Devotees included both fashion-inclined celebrities and fashionistas: Grace Jones(wearing several of his creations in A View To A Kill), Tina Turner, Raquel Welch, Madonna, Brigitte Nielsen, Naomi Campbell(who is like a daughter to him), Stephanie Seymour, Carine Roitfeld and Carla Sozzani.

In the mid-1990s, Alaia virtually vanished from the fashion scene, but continued to cater for a private clientele and to enjoy commercial success in his ready-to-wear lines, presenting his collections in his own space, in the heart of leMarais, where he brought his creative workshop, boutique and showroom all under one roof.

He then signed a partnership with the Prada group in 2000, the same year as his solo exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York, which initially had been launched and curated at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands by Mark Wilson and Jim Cook in 1997. Working with Prada has seen him through a second impressive renaissance, and in July 2007 he successfully bought back his house and brand name from the Prada group, though his footwear and leather goods division continues to be developed and produced by the group.


His clothes are available in Barneys New York alongside Lanvin, Balenciaga, and Dolce & Gabbana. His shoes are sold at Bergdorf Goodman. Carine Roitfeld was photographed during February 2007 fashion week in one of his coats, with the New York Times declaring that she was the only woman at any of the fall 2007 shows that "looked like the future." Victoria Beckham stated that Alaia is her favourite designer and wore the designer's work, a gift from husband David Beckham, to two Academy Award parties in February 2007.

Alaia was referenced in the mid-90's teen hit "Clueless" starring Alicia Silverstone. When mugged at gunpoint, Silverstone's character protests to kneeling in a parking lot because she is wearing one of the famous clingy dresses designed by the "totally important designer."


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