Tunisian-born couturier Alaïa died while in a coma overnight at the age of 77 in a Paris hospital after experiencing a bad fall 10 days prior
Some of fashion’s biggest names paid tribute to Tunisian-born couturier and shoe designer Azzedine Alaïa, who died Saturday in a Paris hospital after experiencing a bad fall 10 days prior according to a French media report in Le Point. He was 77.
Dubbed “the King of Cling,” Alaïa made a name for himself for his distinctive takes on classic silhouettes, his garments often moulding the body into remarkable and eye-catching proportions.
“I don’t cut clothes for a board,” Alaïa told PEOPLE in 1982. “The body of a woman is sublime. I follow it.”
Alaïa began his career studying sculpture at the Institut Supérieur des Beaux Arts in Tunis. He entered into fashion as a dress-maker’s assistant — eventually moving to Paris in 1957 and working for Christian Dior. He would go on to work for Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler before he broke out on his own and opened an atelier in the 1970s, dressing Hollywood stars in like Greta Garbo and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild.
It wasn’t until 1980 that he produced her first ready-to-wear collection, with couture leather-moulded pieces that would launch his name as a global brand. Over the years he would continue to make a name for himself for refusing to play by fashion’s rules, even eschewing the industry’s traditional seasonal collection calendars, which he retired from in 1992.
Still he was wildly popular with celebrities, including Kim Kardashian who often wore his designs. His last collection (and first since 2011) dropped in July, with Naomi Campbell making a rare catwalk appearance.
Victoria Beckham, Project Runway judge Nina Garcia, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, and Patrik Sandberg were just some of the names sharing memories of Alaïa on social media Saturday as news of his passing spread.
“A sad day. Rest in peace #azzedinealaia,” Beckham wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of Alaïa. “You were a true master and one of my biggest inspirations.”
“A fashion legend and true original. We will miss this creative genius,” Garcia said, sharing the same photo of Alaïa as Beckham.
Engelbert posted a series of photos of the two to Instagram. “Azzedine Rest in Peace, my N1 favorite,” she wrote in their caption. “My heart is broken, GENIUS #azzedinealaia @azzedinealaiaofficial. He is going to continue to make dresses for goddesses and Angels up in the sky now.”
Added Ines de la Fressange on Twitter of the 5-ft. 2-in. designer: “Small in size but huge in fashion. Farewell Azzedine Alaïa.”