French designer Azzedine Alaia dies at 77


PARIS: Tunisian-born fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, who dressed stars from Greta Garbo to Grace Jones and Lady Gaga, died in Paris at the age of 77, the French Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion said on Saturday.

The designer was a star of the Paris fashion world in the 1980s and 1990s when models Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell strode down the catwalks in his trademark figure-hugging designs.

Dubbed the “King of Cling”, his dresses were worn by former U.S. first lady Michele Obama, pop singer Madonna and French actress Marion Cotillard.

Born into a farming family in Tunis in 1940, Alaia – who always wore black – started out in French fashion houses Christian Dior, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler but after setting up his own firm he rarely took part in the Paris Fashion Weeks.

Madonna wrote on Twitter, “God Bless this Talented and Beautiful Soul! Azzedine Alaia! I was so Lucky to know him. Work with him and laugh with him! May he rest in Peace!”

Lady Gaga, another of Alaia’s clients, posted a lengthy message about the late designer to her Twitter account.

“I’ll mourn forever the loss of my friend,” she wrote alongside a photo of them. “He should be celebrated as one of the greatest fashion designers the world has ever known.”

Fashion designer and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham tweeted that it was a sad day and called Alaia a “true master and one of my biggest inspirations.”

American singer Mariah Carey expressed her thoughts on the designer saying, “Devastated to hear about the passing of my friend Azzedine Alaïa. Mr Alaïa was a genius and an incredibly kind man. Thank you for everything. R.I.P.”

Kim Kardashian wrote, “Simply the best! No one like you! It was an honour to know you. You will be missed so greatly! Rest In Peace Mr Alaia.”

Bollywood diva Sonam Kapoor called Alaia “an iconic designer” and said that she was deeply saddened by his demise.

UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay, a former French culture minister, said Alaia was a “genius weaving links between fashion, architecture and sculpture, creating dresses to highlight women’s bodies”.