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Azzedine Alaïa

French, 1935-2017

Master Couturier, King of Cling: legendary fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa (1935–2017) is known by many names, each referring to his unparalleled ability to mold fabric onto the female form in unexpected and radical ways. The Tunisian-born designer spent his entire life in relentless pursuit of a wholly distinctive and most-flattering fit.

“For me, fashion is the body,” said Alaïa. “I make clothes; women make fashion.”

Alaïa is credited with inventing the supermodel through his exclusive fashion shows, the body-con dress — which, quite literally, hugs the body and emphasizes and embraces every curve — and pioneering what industry professionals have taken to calling “slow fashion.” The designer openly rejected empty, of-the-moment fads as well as the structure of biannual seasons and instead took his time, unhurried by press and releasing collections at his own pace. Most importantly, Alaïa was a visionary when it came to traditional notions of femininity and sexuality. At a time when loose, soft silhouettes were the norm, Alaïa’s sexy, waist-cinching hourglass and body-con outfits were shocking.

Alaïa’s “body-conscious clothes,” wrote fashion critic Suzy Menkes, “seemed a deliberate challenge — throwing down a sexist gauntlet in a feminist world.”

While powerful women such as Madonna, Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington wear Alaïa’s creations today, his origins were remarkably humble.

Born to a farming family, Alaïa always had a creative streak. As a young boy, he would flip through women’s fashion magazines and quickly became interested in the design of women's clothing. He went on to study sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Tunis and later worked as a tailor for a dressmaker before he found work creating garments based on Parisian haute couture designs. The combination of his classical training in sculpture and practical experience as a tailor convinced Alaïa that fashion was his calling. In 1957, he moved to Paris and worked for Christian Dior for less than a week before being fired. From there, Alaïa secured a job with Guy Laroche and opened his own maison in the 1970s.

At his core, Alaïa was a couturier who cut and sewed his samples himself. He also experimented with zips, seams, unexpected materials, textures, animal prints and floral patterns like an artist. Today, Alaïa’s clothes look untouched by the passage of time and the various trends that have materialized since their debut; they are as fresh, stylish and stunning as ever. His garments are pop-culture icons in their own right: Cher Horowitz, played by Alicia Silverstone in 1995’s Clueless, exasperated with a perpetrator holding her at gunpoint, declares, “But this is an Alaïa!”

Vintage Alaïa evening dresses, skirts and other attire continue to influence contemporary designers such as Nicolas Ghesquière and Hervé Léger. Not only are his clothes timeless in their glamour, but they also represent the groundbreaking vision of an artist, one who was known to proclaim, “I am not a designer. I am a couturier.”

Find a collection of Azzedine Alaïa day dresses, suits, jackets and more on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$1,152
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Black leather coat with brown wool lining and snap closure ALAÏA Circa 1990
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Saint-Ouen-Sur-Seine, FR
Black leather coat with brown wool lining and snap closure. Crossed half-belt on the back with silver metal buckle. Pockets on both side. SIZE 40 ( Fr) L
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1990s Unknown Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaïa F/W 1991 Leopard wool knitted body and leggings set
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Milano, IT
- Azzedine Alaïa archival iconic leopard wool two-piece set - Sold by Skof.Archive - Fall-Winter 1991 - Designed by Azzedine Alaïa - Crafted from high-quality worsted wool, showcas...
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1990s French Azzedine Alaïa

A/W 1982 Azzedine ALAÏA First Ready-To-Wear Collection Black Leather Jacket
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Munich, DE
"When I design a garment, I am not looking to affirm a particular style. I think of the women who will wear it. I believe that I can say about my clothes that they are impossible to date, they are made to last." – Azzedine Alaïa Throughout his career, the designer sought to perfect his vision of timeless beauty. And “his unique sense of the body and body dressing started an ongoing revolution,” noted Vogue in 1986. This instantly recognizable and museum-held (Palais Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris) leather jacket is from Autumn/Winter 1982, Azzedine Alaïa's very first ready-to-wear collection and thus a truly special, very rare and collectible piece of fashion history. The collection was officially presented at Bergdorf Goodman in New York in September 1982 and an instant success. The jacket is made in France from extraordinarily soft and supple black leather and features the signature fitted waist, a low shawl collar and dramatic oversized side hip pockets that continue on the back. The design has wide sleeves that narrow towards the cuffs with a short zip at the wrist. One chest pocket with a silver coloured zip. The back shows a striking seam detailing. Press stud closure at the front. Fully lined in black acetate. Tagged a French vintage size 40. Runs slightly smaller. The jacket comes from a couture client and has not been on the market prior to this. Very good vintage condition. The bottom half of the lining of the left sleeve was replaced by a trained couture seamstress. Not visible from outside. Shoulders: 49 cm – 19.29" (dropped seam to seam) Bust: 90 cm – 35.43" (under the arms from side seam to side seam) Waist: 75 cm – 29.53" Hips: 102 cm – 40.16" Sleeve length: 61 cm – 24.02" (measured from real shoulder) Length: 73 cm – 28.74" Measurements are taken flat and then doubled for bust, waist and hips. Approximate Modern Size: S Reference photos: Fall 1982 Azzedine Alaia Leather Jacket...
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1980s French Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaia documented nude leather metal studded embellished dress, ss 1981
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Antwerpen, Vlaams Gewest
Introducing an exquisite piece of fashion history: the iconic Azzedine Alaïa nude soft leather dress from the Spring-Summer 1981 collection. Crafted with meticulous attention to deta...
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1980s European Azzedine Alaïa

Alaïa Shearling Bolero - 80s
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Milano, IT
Alaïa Shearling Bolero is a rare longuette made by Azzedine Alaïa in the second half of 1980s featuring asymmetrical frog closure, high collar, and shi...
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20th Century European Azzedine Alaïa

very rare 1984 AZZEDINE ALAIA iconic hooded jersey dress
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in San Fransisco, CA
Bias cut dress with a single swathe of darkest brown jersey forming a hooded bodice dating to 1984. Well documented piece. Very flattering seams. 'Hood' can be draped for a more conv...
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1980s Italian Azzedine Alaïa

1980S AZZEDINE ALAIA Claret Red Sheer Rayon Blend Knit Long Sleeved Dress
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in New York, NY
In very good condition with one small repair near the seam on the hip, please note photos 1980S AZZEDINE ALAIA Claret Red Sheer Rayon Blend Knit Long Sleeved Dress
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1980s Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaia circa 1981 collectors studded embellished red leather belt skirt
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Antwerpen, Vlaams Gewest
Upgrade your Azzedine Alaïa collection archive with this important, exceptional, unique vintage Alaïa red leather belt skirt from circa 1981. Made from lambskin leather, it features ...
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1980s French Azzedine Alaïa

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Azzedine Alaïa fashion for sale on 1stDibs.

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Azzedine Alaïa fashion available on 1stDibs. If you’re browsing our collection of unique vintage and designer fashion to elevate your daily look or to introduce new colors to the dazzling formal wear in your wardrobe, this designer’s body of work includes elements of red, pink, blue and other tones. Most of the items here were designed during the 20th Century, but you can find examples that were created as recently as the 21st Century and Contemporary. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Celine, Gianni Versace Couture, and Chloé appealing. On 1stDibs, find haute couture, vintage and designer Azzedine Alaïa fashion from top boutiques around the world. Azzedine Alaïa fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $140 and tops out at $44,946, while the average work can sell for $1,430.
Questions About Azzedine Alaïa
  • 1stDibs ExpertOctober 12, 2021
    Azzedine Alaia, a French fashion designer known as the “King of Cling,” is known for his body-hugging designs that were sculpted to celebrate the female form. On 1stDibs, find a variety of dresses from Azzedine Alaia.

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