Fashion designer Azzedine Alaia with model Farida
The news of the passing of the Tunisian-born French couturier Azzedine Alaïa swirled 24 hours ago, and shocked the fashion industry: a very talented and well-established Couturier is gone. This is not a very happy end of the year 2017 for any person with strong appreciation for 80s and 90s Haute Couture, since Alaïa was a central figure during that time in the world of high-end fashion ... all the way up to the day of his passing, and more.

"You have to take things with a lot of laughter. I laugh with everyone; this way, I will be able to die happy." 

Naomi Campbell and Azzedine Alaia, 1987 - taken by Arthur Elgort

Naomi Campbell wearing Alaia dress in Elle 1989 photographed by Gilles Bensimon

 According to a French media report in Le Point, Azzedine Alaïa passed away at the relatively young age of 77, leaving behind an artistic legacy in fashion - particularly in haute couture. His life was mostly spent creating work of arts with clothing at his own pace, ignoring the fashion industry's crazy schedules and short-lasting trends. He became an example of authenticity, an icon to many and inspiration for women to be confident in their beautiful bodies.

"My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can't go out of fashion."

I recall falling in love with Alaïa's work as a teenage girl, after browsing through the internet and finding attractive laser-cut suede shoes and waist belts. As a young girl, all I wanted was a belt like the ones I saw online ... and a tiny waist so that I look good wearing my Alaïa. After I stumbled upon the designer's collections from the late 80's and 90's period, I began to grow fonder of him as a designer. He dressed many of my style icons (mainly the 90's supermodels Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista), watching all my favorite faces walk in his couture creations made me look up to the man behind the brand which carries his name. His sole purpose was to beautify the woman wearing his designs, and make her look effortlessly sexy and confident. 

Linda Evangelista & Azzedine Alaia, early 90s

"It's important to make women feel confident, because I think they are more important than men."

Yasmin Le Bon in Azzedine Alaia Ensemble, photographed by Francois Lamy (1985)

Like many aspiring fashion designers, Alaïa gives hope to all of us because he had a very humble beginning for his dream: reading Vogue archives and aspiring to one day be able to make the clothes that are seen on those pages. He worked an entire-lifetime for this purpose and now the loss in the industry is felt by everyone in this scene.