Monday, Apr. 02, 2012

Azzedine Alaïa

While other designers clamor for the affection of fashion editors and store buyers, Azzedine Alaïa makes the industry come to him. The Tunisian-born designer doesn't advertise in magazines, is uninterested in social media and has no problem telling Anna Wintour, the revered editor of Vogue, that she has no taste or lasting influence. In more than 50 years in the fashion industry, Alaïa has worked with Christian Dior, Guy Laroche, Thierry Mugler and even Miuccia Prada. But it's his smaller, eponymous label, started in the late 1970s — along with his refusal to sacrifice aesthetic for fame — that's made him one of the greatest designers in history. A master at flattering the female figure, Alaïa created formfitting designs that earned him the nickname "King of Cling" during the height of his fame in the 1980s. In 1995 his name was immortalized in pop culture when Cher, the lead character of the film Clueless, resisted bowing down to a gun-pointing robber because she was wearing Alaïa — "a totally important designer." And indeed he was — and is nearly 20 years later.