Azzedine Alaïa was a Tunisian fashion designer, who had assisted for Cristóbal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior, before starting his own brand in his namesake in 1981. The luxury fashion house was opened with Alaïa’s friend Cristoph von Weyhe, who helped with the running of the company. In 1981, Alaïa launched their first ready-to-wear collection, which featured leather suits and metallic detailing, as well as stretch fabrics typically used for sportswear. This use of form-fitting materials and shapes became iconic of Alaïa designs, and Alaïa himself was named ‘The King of Cling’, for his use of feminine and sultry silhouettes. Working with the biggest names throughout the eighties and nineties, such as Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell, Alaïa designs were hugely influential and sought after. Alaïa died in 2017, leaving behind a legacy of house codes which aim to make women feel beautiful and accentuate this beauty. The Richemont Company now owns the brand, and Pieter Mulier became Creative Director in 2021.
The signature Alaïa style of feminine and body-con silhouettes is still reflected today in the brand’s designs. The approach to the body as a sculpture was innovative, and is continued at Alaïa through the use of luxurious fabrics and expert cuts, reinterpreting shapes and silhouettes. Pieter Mulier has commented that he is ‘appreciative of the brand’s heritage’, so it is likely that we will see the Alaïa traditions live on. In recent years, the brand has become well known, not only for its stunning form-flattering shapes and enduring materials, but also for their laser-cut accessories and glamorous footwear. Alaïa offers womens ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories, showcasing classics such as sculpted knitted dresses and elegant evening gowns, as well as youthful skater skirts and statement sunglasses. The discreet luxury that Azzedine Alaïa garnered through his independent approach to fashion is visible today. Every Alaïa piece is opulent and beautifully crafted, refined yet alluring.
Alaïa has stores throughout the world, including a flagship store in London. Their pieces can be found on their website, and through Net-a-Porter, My Theresa and Yoox.