Azzedine Alaia; a designer with great adoration, respect and passion for women and women’s fashion.
When icons pass away, the fashion industry always pays respect to those individuals whom are true visionaries and creatively gifted, and Alaia is no exception to this. There is something slightly magical in the clothes Alaia designs. He created clothing which fits to the woman’s body, and manipulated proportions of clothing to accentuate and minimise different parts of a woman. An Alaia dress is beautifully crafted, subtle, but just explicit enough, feminine, but contains patterns and rougher textures. Alaia pieces are works of art. From dressing the like of bold women such as musician and performer Grace Jones, to his favoured model, Naomi Campbell, Alaia is one of the world’s most esteemed designers with such a reputation, his legacy will be sure to live on.
Campbell recently appeared at the British Fashion Awards 2017 paying tribute to the designer, and gave a speech truly showcasing Alaia’s affect on her career, but also Alaia as an influence within her life more generally. The model stated, “Everyone in this room knows that Azzedine was able to transform a woman’s body into something special; make you look great and still like a woman. He captured the essence of femininity. But beyond his work as a designer, from the second day I met him, he became my papa. He was the most generous, kind, compassionate and humble man I have ever known, with a mischievous sense of humour in the glint of his eye, and he filled my life – and the lives of the women on this stage, and all of you in the room who met him – with light and joy. I moved into his home at 16 and he opened my eyes to the world: to artists, art and design, architecture, French and Tunisian culture. How blessed was I to have papa show me these different worlds?
Campbell goes on to say –“Imagine being put on Concorde and sent to New York at 16 years old, to work with Steven Meisel for American Vogue, dressed head to toe in Alaïa – it was not reality. He never did advertising: he always said that we were his advertising. Back in the day, our fridges weren’t stuffed with food: we bought what we ate on a daily basis and if there was one egg left in his fridge, papa would offer it to me to make an omelette. There is no man who understood me like him, or who saw me in the way that he did. Always when I was with him he would make me feel like my 16-year-old self – and without him, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. He protected me in every way possible – even when I was attacked in Paris in 2012, papa came rushing out to stand in front of my attacker while I was pulled to safety. Azzedine was a protector, a teacher, a seeker and defender of all that is good and positive in this world. I am proud to be honouring, along with his daughters, a giant of fashion and a true master of humanity.”
Alaia not only helped change the way women looked, but in doing so, changed how women feel. It takes an extremely gifted designer to create such pieces, and Alaia, and his contribution to fashion, must not be forgotten.