Designer Dictionary: Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaïa, a.k.a. ‘The King of Cling’. As the title suggests, the Tunisian fashion designer is highly acclaimed for the skintight dress, a look that is trending today and one that reflects my personal style. The Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur 2008, is also known for his exclusive couture and shoe designs. Alaïa boasts famous clients such as Michelle Obama and Madonna and has a ‘father-daughter’ type of relationship with super model Naomi Campbell (of which he is credited for recognising her star-quality when they first met when she was 16). This discreet yet legendary man, forebodes a strong start to the Designer Dictionary, a weekly feature that will be posted on the blog.


Name: Azzedine Alaïa 

Nickname: ‘King of Cling’

Date of Birth: 26th February 1940

Country of Birth: Tunisia

Education: École des Beaux-Arts

Occupation: Fashion Designer

Label(s): Alaïa 

Famous Work: bodycon dresses, high heels and couture

Did You Know? Alaïa lied about his age in order to secure a placement at the École des Beaux-Arts, Tunis.

In 1980, Andrée Putman (an interior designer), was stopped by a Bergdorf Goodman buyer and asked about who she was wearing. It happened to be one of the first Alaïa leather coats and this encounter led to the first sales of the label in Beverly Hills and New York. 

Alaïa’s inspirations were his glamorous sister and the designer Madeline Vionnet

Famous Associates: Grace Jones, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Marie-Hélèn de Rothschild, Naomi Campbell

Awards: Best Designer of The Year (1984), Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (2008)

Quotes: ‘I don’t like his fashion, his spirit, his attitude. It’s too much caricature. Karl Lagerfeld never touched a pair of scissors in his life.’

‘She runs the business very well, but not the fashion part. When I see how she is dressed, I don’t believe in her tastes one second… Anyway, who will remember Anna Wintour in the history of fashion? No one.’

‘I am never sure that anything’s good enough. Something that is good today will not be good tomorrow.’

‘Fashion will last forever. It will exist always. It will exist in its own way in each era.’

‘I make clothes; women make fashion.’

Alicia Silverstone in Clueless (1995) • Source: 📸

Naomi Campbell @ Azzedine Alaïa FW91 • Source: 📸

Beverly Peele @ Azzedine Alaïa SS91 • Source: 📸