Alaïa was born in Tunis, on 26 February 1940. His love for couture was inspired by his glamorous twin sister and a French friend of his mother who fed Alaïa’s instinctive creativity with copies of Vogue.
He produced his first ready-to-wear collection in 1980 and moved to larger premises on rue du Parc-Royal in the Marais district.
Referring to himself as a builder rather than a fashion designer, his works underline structure and purity of form, always looking for discreet luxury. His seductive, clinging clothes were hugely successful and he was named by the media The King of Cling.
Known to many as the top of luxury and craftsmanship, Alaïa uses the most ingenious fabrics and rigorous tailoring techniques to painstakingly build and envelope the womanly body with flourish of couture. He changed notions of femininity, he broke away from all the preconceived ideas of the previous decades to create a new body-conscious silhouette.
As Catherine Lardeur (the former editor-in-chief of French Marie Claire in the 80s) stated once: “Fashion is dead. Designers nowadays do not create anything […] Alaïa remains the king. He is smart enough to not only care about having people talk about him. He only holds fashion shows when he has something to show, on his own time frame”.
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