Photo: Design Museum


Nicknamed the King of Cling, the late Azzedine Alaia was known for his masterful sculpting of the female figure with his form-fitting creations, and also for having an influence that even transcended fashion, and into pop culture. He has been referenced in the 1992 film Clueless, where the Alaia-clad protagonist Cher Horowitz refused a robber’s demand to lay down on the ground, and also designed most of Grace Jones’ body-hugging costumes for her villainess character May Day in the 1985 Bond film, A View to a Kill.

Photo: Design Museum


Before he passed away at age 82 late last year, the French-Tunisian designer worked with the Design Museum in London to showcase his career and creative processes. The exhibition will run from May 10 to July 10, and display more than 60 examples of Alaia’s works from the past 35 years, exactly the way he intended them to be seen.

Photo: Design Museum/Peter Lindbergh


The couturier’s life, in brief:

  • He studied sculpture at Tunisia’s Ecole des Beaux Arts. It became the foundation for his skill of sculpting the female figure with his bodycon and bandage dresses.
  • He moved to Paris in 1957 and worked for Christian Dior, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler for two decades.
  • In the late ’70s, he opened his own atelier in his Rue de Bellechasse apartment. 
  • He launched collections at his own pace, not during fashion week. They were still anticipated and coveted because of the quality of his dresses.


This story was first published in the May 2018 issue of Her World.