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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
$1,387
Azzedine Alaïa Cutout Suede Sandals EU 38 UK 5 US 8
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in London, GB
These sandals by Alaïa reworks the classic black sandal in inimitable style, sculpted with a stiletto heel and a discreet platform for support and comfort, team this cutout suede pai...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Azzedine Alaïa

ALAIA black leather Knee High STRETCH Boots Shoes 39.5
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Zürich, CH
100% authentic Alaïa knee-high boots in stretchy super smooth calfskin. Open with a zipper on the inside. Have been worn and are in excellent condition. Measurements Imprinted Size...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaia black wool blend catsuit, fw 1991
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in London, GB
▪ Azzedine Alaia black wool blend catsuit ▪ Skin tight ▪ High v-neck ▪ Long sleeves ▪ Concealed zipper at centre-back ▪ Size Medium ▪ Fall-Winter 1991
Category

1990s Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaïa Metallic Jacquard Knit Mini Dress
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in London, GB
The weighted, stretch-knit of Alaїa's mini dress ensures the skater silhouette holds its shape, patterned with metallic jacquard design, this style has a scoop-neck and is sleeveless...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaïa Black Wool Knit Hooded Body Con Dress 1980s
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Azzedine Alaïa 1980s black wool knit hooded body con mini dress. This amazing version of the iconic dress with hood has is done in black wool. The bodice is flat knit the extra long ...
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1980s Azzedine Alaïa

Never Worn Alaïa Denim Cap, Spring-Summer 1991
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Geneva, CH
Already seen at the 1990 Fall-Winter collection (see picture 3), this Alaïa cap (in the beret spirit) is found throughout the iconic 1991 Spring-Summer "Tati" collection (see picture...
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1990s Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaia Chenille Bodycon Playsuit Catsuit Jumpsuit
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Fort Myers, FL
Azzedine Alaia Chenille Bodycon Playsuit Catsuit Jumpsuit FR 38 Excellent Condition! As seen on Rihanna!
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaia 1994 Vintage Chenille Dress
By Azzedine Alaïa
Located in Fort Myers, FL
Azzedine Alaia 1994 Vintage Chenille Dress Size XS Black Alaïa short sleeve mini dress with faux fur trim, mock neck and zip closure at back. All Eyes on Alaïa For the last half-c...
Category

1990s Azzedine Alaïa

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Azzedine Alaïa Sellers

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 interested in this designer might also find the work of Tom Ford, Oscar De La Renta and Jean Paul Gaultier appealing. Find haute couture, vintage and designer Azzedine Alaïa fashion from top boutiques around the world on 1stDibs. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $135 and tops out at $39,995, while the average work can sell for $1,400.
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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