Azzedine Alaïa passed away early Saturday morning.
Back in the last 1970s, Alaïa opened up his first atelier for private clients in his Rue de Bellechasse apartment. And in 1980, the designer debuted his first ready-to-wear collection.
From there, Alaïa’s business and profile grew tremendously. Not only was he able to expand his operation to Paris but he also opened up boutiques in the United States.
In the year 2000, Prada invested in his business and that’s when his accessories line took off.
Alaïa did however buy back the company and then eventually entered an agreement in 2007 with luxury conglomerate Richemont.
Note: Richemont currently owns a significant stake in the business.
Alaïa was and is known for following rejecting industry pressure and following his own conventions.
Alaïa’s passing on Saturday truly reveals just how much he impacted the fashion world. Here is what some of the biggest players in the fashion had to say:
Marc Jacobs, Designer:
“A true artist, genius and master. He was always kind, friendly and supportive of me. He welcomed me when I first came to Paris. We had some great adventures and many good times. His talent is unparalleled and his playful character generous, naughty and wickedly unique. The exceptional beauty he created is timeless and will without question- live forever! I pray that Azzedine will rest in peace.” (Instagram)
Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art:
“Azzedine was an artist in the truest sense. His search for perfection, which revealed itself in an almost fetishistic reworking of the techniques of the couture, not only advanced the art of fashion, but changed the course of fashion history.”
Miuccia Prada, Chief Executive Officer of Prada:
“Although I didn’t know him so well personally, I always admired and appreciated his intellectual honesty and the originality of his thinking which are very rare qualities.”
Riccardo Tisci, Designer:
“One of my biggest inspirations! The one who never followed anybody in the fashion world but followed by everybody! The special and loving friend! I will always love and respect you! And celebrate you the way you taught me… I will miss you” (Instagram)
Jean Paul Gaultier, Designer:
“He was a great master. He brought together brilliantly technique, couture savoir faire, tradition and modernity!!! All the curves of the most beautiful women in the world were enhanced and made sublime by Azzedine Alaia.”
Carine Roitfeld, Editor:
“Azzedine was the true meaning of ‘original.’ We should all aspire to live life as purely as he did and to be as focused in and devoted to our work as he was to his. It’s exceptional for someone to exist outside of fashion’s system and be so successful and beloved. Like a true artist he followed his instinct and simply did what he loved. He was dedicated to women — all types of women, not just those with the typical model’s silhouette. He always told me he loved to spend time with real women, learning about their loves and likes and dislikes. This is how he came to understand women the way he did — by listening. On top of all this he was incredibly modest, which is very rare in our world.”
Glenda Bailey, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar:
“He was the king of curve. He broke the rules and that’s what makes him an original. He was incredibly respected because of his knowledge, love of beauty and uncompromising spirit. He’s going to be dearly missed.”
Stefano Tonchi, Editor-in-Chief of W:
“Azzedine was and will remain a role model for independent designers who have a clear vision and who do not want to compromise in order to fit within the fashion system. He had his beliefs and paid for them, over and over, throughout his very unique career. He showed that artisanal craftsmanship can coexist with industrial production, and opted to be in and out of the system at his own will. His legacy is about art and freedom in an industry that has often lost the connection with its own reason to be.”