Famed fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa has died at 82. His close friend Carla Sozzani confirmed the news to WWD, saying that the Tunisian-born designer died in Paris; the news broke on November 18. The cause of death was a heart attack, the New York Times reported.
Alaïa was dubbed the "King of Cling" after his body-con fashions and use of proportion; having studied sculpture in Tunis, he had an extraordinary eye for shape and fit. And, yes, he was the designer of the dress Cher wears to the Valley party in Clueless ("This is an Alaïa").
He launched his first ready-to-wear collection in the early eighties and helped define the decade's style. He was best known for meticulous tailoring and flattering, form-fitting designs, especially dresses and knits. For his own personal style, he stuck with a uniform of black Chinese pajamas.
After years of operating on his own schedule (and eschewing the couture shows since 2011), he returned this past summer to the couture runway, showing his Alaïa Fall 2017 collection on July 5. As we wrote then, "Alaïa’s penchant for doing things his own way has earned him legions of fans and a cadre of loyal supermodels: In addition to [Naomi] Campbell, he also counts Grace Jones, Natalia Vodianova, Stephanie Seymour, and even younger stars like Kendall Jenner and Joan Smalls among his admirers. Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga have all worn his pieces. At his last couture show in 2011, the packed front row featured the likes of Kanye West, Sofia Coppola, and fellow designer Donatella Versace." He counted many top models among his muses.
Celebrities and fashion industry figures took to social media this morning to mourn Alaïa and post pictures of his best work, including Rihanna, who Instagrammed a picture of herself and the iconic designer sharing an intimate moment at a dinner, with the caption, "my dear ALAIA.... you will live on forever. rip."