CULTURE

RIP Azzedine Alaïa: Fashion Legend Remembered By Rihanna, the Fashion World and More

The Tunisian-born designer was 82.


FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

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.”

Related: Amazing Alaïa: Looking Back at Azzedine Alaïa’s Greatest Hits

Azzedine Alaïa’s Greatest Red Carpet Hits: From Naomi Campbell to Rihanna

Grace Jones with Kenzo and Azzedine Alaïa at a charity event for the fight against AIDS, May 1986. Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images.

Naomi Campbell with Azzedine Alaïa and Gilles Bensimon at the departure of Jean-Paul Gaultier show in Paris, France, March 1993. Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage.

Naomi Campbell on the runway at Azzedine Alaïa’s Fall 1991 presentation, June 1991. Photo by Getty Images.

Naomi Campbell on the runway at Azzedine Alaïa’s Fall 1991 presentation, June 1991. Photo by Getty Images.

Joan Smalls at the premiere of Youth at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2015. Photo by Getty Images.

Kendall Jenner at the premiere of Youth at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2015. Photo by Antonia de Moraes Barros/FilmMagic.

Uma Thurman at the premiere of the Nymphomaniac: Volume II Director’s Cut at the 71st Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, September 2014. Photo by Getty Images.

Rihanna at the launch of the Clara Lionel Foundation in Paris, France, June 2014. Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage.

Lady Gaga at the 87th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 2015. Photo by Getty Images.

In a second Alaïa look of the night, Lady Gaga attends the 87th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 2015. Photo by Getty Images.

Rihanna at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, February 2013. Photo by Getty Images.

Rosamund Pike at the IWC Gala dinner in Geneva, Switzerland, January 2016. Photo by Getty Images.

NEW YORK – MAY 20: Natalia Vodianova poses during a gala to honor Azzedine Alaia at the Guggenheim Museum May 20, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

Stephanie Seymour and Azzedine Alaïa at a Guggenheim Museum gala honoring the designer in New York, New York, May 2004. Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images.

Kate Upton at the 30th annual Night of the Stars by Fashion Group International in New York, New York, October 2013. Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images.

Naomi Campbell at the Azzedine Alaïa retrospective at the Palais Galliera in Paris, France, September 2013. Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage.

Alicia Keys at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, February 2013. Photo by Getty Images.

Charlize Theron at the 17th annual Critics’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles, California, January 2012. Photo by Getty Images.

Laetitia Casta at the Vogue Spain December issue launch in Madrid, Spain, November 2012. Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage.

Naomi Campbell at The Face series premiere in New York, New York, February 2013. Photo by Getty Images.

Nicole Kidman at the OMEGA House launch in London, England, July 2012. Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage.

Miranda Kerr at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, June 2011. Photo by Getty Images.

Naomi Campbell at the de Grisogono party at the Cannes Film Festival in Antibes, France, May 2011. Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage.

Kim Kardashian at The Spin Crowd finale party in New York, New York, October 2010.

Zoe Saldana at the U.K. premiere of Star Trek in London, England, April 2009. Photo by Getty Images.

Mary-Kate Olsen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala in New York, New York, May 2007. Photo by Getty Images.

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