Azzedine Alaïa passed away on Saturday 18th November, and the fashion world gathered to mourn his legacy. Hamish Bowles dubbed him “the last great craftsman in fashion”, whose lifestyle was marked by his lace and leather experiments, as by his kindness. Born in Tunisia, Alaïa penetrated the upper ranks of Parisian high society, eschewing the runway calendar in favour of his own release dates. Mario has said he always admired how “he was not bothered into fitting a fashion calendar, but did his own collections when he saw fit”.
His love of the female figure was spurred by, according to Mario, “a precise idea of how he saw women – he celebrated women’s beauty and amazing proportions.” A father figure to the likes of Naomi Campbell, and a titan of his industry, Alaïa’s loss leaves a tear in the fabric of contemporary fashion.
In 2015, “Azzedine Alaïa Couture/Sculpture” was exhibited at Rome’s Galleria Borghese, framing his work amid masterpieces by great Renaissance masters such as Bernini, Titian, and Caravaggio, among others. Mario captured the following, showing how Alaïa more than held his own beside our greatest artists. Below, he celebrates his favourite memories of Alaïa, and a life of invention and creation.
Featured Image: Saskia de Braw, London, British Vogue, 2011. Velvet and voile long evening dress, Azzedine Alaïa Haute Couture
Photographs © Mario Testino