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Arab fashion world devastated at loss of legendary French-Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaia Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Arab fashion world devastated at loss of legendary French-Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaia

Alaia's passing was announced by the French Haute Couture Federation [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 November, 2017

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French-Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaia has died aged 77, leading to deep sadness in the Arab world at the loss of a fashion legend.

French-Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, whose timeless creations were worn by many around the world, has died aged 77, France's fashion federation said on Saturday.

Alaia's passing was announced by the French Haute Couture Federation without any further details as to the cause of death.

There was an outpouring of tributes from fashion-lovers online, with designer Ines de la Fressange tweeting: "Small in stature but huge in the world. Adieu Azzedine Alaia."

Alaia was born to a farming family in Tunisia in 1940 and studied sculpture at the capital's fine arts school before working at a modest neighbourhood dressmaker's shop.

He moved to Paris in the late 1950s, working briefly for Dior and Guy Laroche before eventually going solo, winning a reputation for sexy designs celebrating the female form.

Secretive and known as a fashion rebel, he remained in Paris for decades but did not take part in the French capital's seasonal fashion frenzy or flashy ad campaigns. Instead, he showed privately on his own schedule.

Alaia was sometimes dubbed the "king of cling" for the formfitting designs he first popularised during the 1980s and updated over the decades.

"I like women," he told AFP in a 2013 interview. "I never think about doing new things, about being creative, but about making clothing that will make women beautiful." 

He joked at the time: "It's better that I come clean about it while I'm alive - I won't give a damn about it when I'm dead."

Agencies contributed to this report.

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