Date: born 1939
Biography: The body-conscious fashions that defined the 1980s owe much to Azzedine Alaïa, whose “second skin” designs were renowned for displaying and enhancing a woman’s figure. A perfectionist about shape and fit, Alaïa cuts and drapes his garments himself - preferring to work directly on the body - to achieve the ideal silhouette. Combining corsetry techniques with complex spiral and criss-cross seaming, some garments contain up to 40 individual pieces, all assembled to emphasize womanly curves while ensuring ease of movement. “The cut is what gives the shape, the roundness, the voluptuousness,” he once said. “Each line has a reason.” Alaïa’s designs are aided by his use of stretch fabrics, which hold and control the body yet allow freedom of movement. Dubbed the “Titan of Tight” and “King of Cling” by fashion journalists, Alaïa has created some of the most seductive clothes to ever grace the runways. Born in Tunisia, Alaïa studied sculpture and eventually moved to Paris in 1957 to pursue fashion. After working briefly in the studios of Dior, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler, Alaïa introduced his first prêt-à-poter collection in 1980 and found success, seemingly overnight, as women of all ages scrambled to get on waiting lists for his designs. However, even before opening his shop, Alaïa had been designing custom-made clothes for a small group of actresses and aristocrats, including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Cecile de Rothschild. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Alaïa’s fame continued to attract notable clients such as Madonna, Tina Turner, and fashion icon Tina Chow. Alaïa’s reverence for tradition and his quest for perfection led him to rework and refine many of his designs as he experimented with riveted leathers, industrial zippers, and fabrics such as leather, tweed, lycra, and silk jersey. "He gives you the very best line you can get from your body,” Tina Turner once remarked. ”It's a piece of sculpture."