News has just broken that Tunisian designer and legendary haute couturier Azzedine Alaïa has passed away in Paris aged 82. “Goodbye to a true legend. Azzedine Alaïa was one of fashion’s greatest masters and a true hero for Arabia. His talent shaped the industry and empowered women from around the globe. The Vogue Arabia team sends its condolences to his friends and family,” reflected team Vogue on Instagram, paying tribute to one of the world’s leading lights for timeless style and iconic couture.
The designer had more than 40 years’ experience delivering luxury to women’s wardrobes the world over. His meteoric rise from anonymity to notoriety occurred in the late 70s, when his private clientele list grew beyond Marie-Hélène de Rothschild and Greta Garbo to include Tina Turner, Grace Jones, and muse Stephanie Seymour. Although Alaïa’s approach was confidently poised for slow fashion, he was one of the few remaining designers to work exclusively on living models, executing designs destined to be worn on the red carpet, for an audience with a figurehead, or for the glass corner office.
The former sculptor handcrafted every piece of his couture and ready-to-wear collections – hence the two week wait after fashion month closed – which typically comprises 60% knits. While Alaïa brought many of today’s key pieces into the fashion lexicon (think luxury leggings, bandage dresses, and daytime bustiers) way back when, his designs remain at the zeitgeist for stars such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kate Moss, and his long-term friend Naomi Campbell, who he mentored when she first moved to Paris and was considered Alaïa’s “daughter.” She also opened his Fall 2017 couture show in July 2017.
Vogue.me curates the tributes that are now flooding in from his supporters and friends on Instagram.
Marc Jacobs said, “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 💔💔💔”
Farida Khelfa paid tribute to her friend in three posts, saying, “Nous ne danserons plus ensemble ❤️❤️❤️”
Bella Hadid wrote a touching message on her Instagram account upon hearing the news: “💔😣Can’t believe the news we all heard yesterday. I really couldn’t believe it. Azzedine Alaïa… I have always looked up to you as a leader of empowerment, poise and grace. The stories I would hear growing up about Mr. Alaïa showed me he was always untouchable in fashion – as a human icon and a creator. But on the other hand, the most caring, funny, incredible man in the world. I dreamt for so (so so so) long that one day we could work together, but just meeting and hugging you is something I will carry with me forever.”
Hadid continued, “I remember finding the most perfect Alaïa dress that a friend let me borrow for my prom when I was younger, and I think I wore that same dress about 50 times because it just always made me feel so lucky, beautiful and grateful to even be able to wear such a piece made by you. You empowered women. Made women feel sexy. Classic. Edgy. Graceful. Fashionable but cool. Everything a women wants to feel when putting a perfect piece of clothing on. Thank you for what you brought to fashion and I know that everyone, especially the people that love you the most, will make you live on forever. I also know that you will be making the most MAJOR dresses up in heaven for the angels. Everyone will be wearing Alaïa couture in heaven and here on earth forever.
I send my blessings to Azzedine’s loved ones and send my light, love and prayers to those who are mourning. What a huge loss in fashion and in history. Rest In Peace❤️”
Donatella Versace posted, “Ciao Azzedine. Allegra and I will miss you forever!”
Friend Giovanna Battaglia commented, “Azzedine Rest in Peace , my N1 favorite❤️my heart is broken, GENIUS #azzedinealaia @azzedinealaiaofficial 💔💔💔💔 he is going to continue to make dresses for goddesses up in the sky now ❤️❣️”
Lady Gaga, his friend and loyal client, posted three Instagram tributes, captioning one, “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.”
Imaan Hammam posted: “Today the world has lost a true Icon and Legend!!!!!………..so sad I haven’t ever had the chance to meet you but I love you for everything you’ve brought to the WORLD not only Fashion ❤️ rest in peace”
Alber Elbaz: “Shocked and speechless…No words to describe the loss of a true genius, one of the greatest of our time…. Azzedine, you will be forever missed. WE LOVE YOU ❤️❤️❤️🌹🌹🌹 #LovebringsLove#TrueGenius #FashionHero #ARareGem#InspirationToAll #alberelbaz#alberandamigos @azzedinealaiaofficial”
Vogue Arabia cover star, Afef Jnifen commented, “I will miss you habibi 💔 RIP Azzeddine Alaia❤️”
Tim Blanks reflected back on an iconic moment between the late designer and his long-standing muse, Farida Khelfa; “One of my favourite photos of Azzedine Alaia…the wit, the playfulness, the love…eternal. Thank you @faridakhelfa@jeanpaulgoudeofficial, and to the magician himself.”
Photographer Tom Munro simply captioned his tribute: “AZZEDINE ALAIA”.
Model Irina Shayk posted a photograph with the late designer and captioned it, “Azzedine always made me feel beautiful, empowered and celebrated. It was an honor to wear his creations, work with him and know his kind, genius soul🙏🏼 Rest in peace Mr. #AzzedineAlaia 💔❤”
As further photos from artists, designers, fashion industry moguls come flooding in, Vogue.me will update this article with the latest tributes from an industry in mourning…