Azzedine Alaïa (b. June 7, 1940), is a French fashion-designer of Tunisian origin. He was educated in Tunis, where he studied sculpture, then worked for Dior and other designers before giving his first show in New York City (1982). His designs emphasize the figure, and he is noted for his black leather-studded gauntlets, little black dresses, and use of zippers.
Azzedine Alaia learned about the human form when he was studying sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Tunis. It was not until 1957 when he moved to Paris that he formalized his fashion career when he became an assistant to Guy Laroche. Starting 1960, he was designing and creating custom clothing for a very select clientele and finally in 1982 branched out into ready-wear. A year later, he started selling his designs in New York and in Beverly Hills (1983).
Nicknamed the “King of Cling” Azzedine Alaia practically invented the stretch mini, Lycra cyling shorts and the body suit that became inspiration to high street fashion design.
Azzedine Alaia knows the female body and understand how to display it properly. His clothes are a symbols of the fitness craze that started during the 1980s – trim, slim and fit.
A master cutter and tailor, Azzedine Alaia is also a perfectionist and works directly onto the body to get that perfect fit. He is also a master of draping and can create clothes that almost fit like a second skin.
Although he is not a recluse, his last proper show was in 1996. His atelier is not listed in any fashion house listing in Paris. Azzedine Alaia continue to cater to a very private clientele and still enjoy commercial success on his ready-to-wear line.