Yesterday (February 26) marked what would have been the late Azzedine Alaïa’s 84th birthday. It’s been over one year since the King of Cling tragically passed away from a heart attack in Paris. Many took to social media to commemorate the iconoclastic Tunisian designer on his birthday, including his honorary daughter Naomi Campbell who posted photos and heartfelt messages on Instagram.
“Happy birthday papa,” wrote Naomi Campbell. “Not the same on planet Earth without you. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about you, speak about you… To the most unique master I miss you always in my heart,” she added alongside four red heart emojis and the praying hands.
The Tunisian designer became a father figure to Campbell, after first meeting when the model was just 16. After welcoming the runway star into his home for dinner while she was in Paris, Alaïa took Campbell under his wing, helping to nurture her throughout her career. “Azzedine saw something in me and taught me to have confidence,” the model told the Independent back in 1998. “I didn’t know how to do runway when I started modeling, but he believed in me. That brought attention from other designers, and is kind of how I became known – because other designers heard of this little girl Azzedine was working with.”
The British supermodel opened up about her relationship with Alaïa in her cover story for the November issue of Vogue Arabia, revealing his death shook her to the core. “I miss him so much,” Campbell said. “People say the business is fickle but I’ve found a second family. I cherish my friendships of 32 years and I’m so happy that I can pick up the phone and go to dinner with people I’ve known for that long. It’s the trust and bond that’s unconditional.”
Other fashion insiders to pay a tribute to the late Alaïa include Veronica Webb, who also took to the photo-sharing platform to post a touching message of her own to the late designer, revealing she is “Remembering Azzedine today on his birthday.” She wrote, “Every time I think of you I smile. Love you and Miss you with all my heart my dear friend. “God Rest his beautiful soul.”
Meanwhile, Tunisian model Azza Slimene posted a black-and-white image of herself with the late designer, writing “Today is your birthday in heaven. Happy birthday habibi @azzedinealaiaofficial, we miss you.”