The Legacy of Azzedine Alaïa


The recent passing of visionary Azzedine Alaïa marked the end of a storied career of one of fashion’s most groundbreaking designers. As a formidable couturier, the Alaïa name was influential in every aspect of the business from the catwalk to the transformation of marketing worldwide. The Tunisian-born rebel launched in Paris and quickly opened boutiques around the globe, adored for his singular approach to style. Azzedine Alaïa executed a legacy that lives on, with the following a few reasons for why he became a sartorial superstar.

1. Azzedine Alaïa catered to the female form
What Azzedine Alaïa did better than just about any other designer was sculpt his clothes to celebrate the female form – for many, he is widely referenced as the inventor of the body-con silhouette. Key signatures of his work over the years include nipped-in waists, flared and fit shapes, all of which came from his early life as a sculptor. Each of his cinched creations accentuated the female body to perfection, making every woman look and feel her absolute best.


2. Alaïa rejected traditional show schedules
Although the ‘See Now, Buy Now’ concept has been incorporated by many mainstream fashion houses, Azzedine Alaïa bucked trends before this phenomenon, abandoning conventional industry expectations and retiring calendar presentations in 1992. Once he made the decision to return in 2011, Alaïa opened a surprise show featuring Naomi Campbell to rave reviews.


3. Alaïa was a master craftsman
As an expert tailor and master with needle and thread, Azzedine Alaïa took the execution of design to a level that few designers of his calibre could emulate, with all of his pieces exquisitely created using only premium fabrics. As the fashion industry became more into mass production, the Alaïa name continued its reputation for making clothes that made every woman feel divine with each successive collection.


4. The Azzedine Alaïa dress is ageless
Because of the immense amount of time and effort that have been invested to create his designs, the Azzedine Alaïa dress is a classic piece that passes between generations and never lose their appeal. The inherent timelessness of the Alaïa brand is evident, with many pieces becoming heirlooms for decades to come.


5. Azzedine Alaïa created the supermodel
Before Gianni Versace, it was Azzedine Alaïa that birthed the era of the supermodel, with the biggest models of the time – Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington – canceling other shows to walk his runways. Their collective presence at Alaïa shows enabled the models to evolve into a formidable branding tool that took the world of fashion to the next level.
The Azzedine Alaïa influence transcends across the fashion world and pop culture at large, making the designer and his label an international force. Other noted designers that cite Alaïa as a motivator of their own works include Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton, Riccardo Tisci, and Hervé Léger, just a few premiere names in fashion that continue to celebrate the distinct legacy of an undisputed icon.

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