Alaïa.

Explore the body-hugging masterpieces that are sculpted to celebrate the female form of Azzedine Alaïa at the Amsterdam boutique Azzurro Due.

“My obsession is to make women beautiful.

When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion.”

A.A.

Azzedine Alaïa was a Tunisian couturier and shoe designer. His parents were wheat farmers, but his glamorous twin sister, Hafida, inspired his love for couture. A French friend of his mother, Mrs. Pineau, fed Alaïa’s instinctive creativity with copies of Vogue. He lied about his age to get into the Tunis Institute of Fine Arts, a local school of fine arts in Tunis, where he gained valuable insights into the human form and began studying sculpture. He worked as a dressmaker with his sister to pay for school supplies.


After his graduation, Alaïa began working as a dressmaker’s assistant. He soon began dressing private clients, and in 1957 he moved to Paris to work in fashion design.

In Paris, he started to work at Christian Dior as a tailleur, but had to leave five days later as the Algerian war broke out, soon moved to work for Guy Laroche for two seasons, then for Thierry Mugler until he opened his first atelier in his little rue de Bellechasse apartment in the late 1970s.

Alaïa’s designs were known for their very tight fit, deft tailoring, curve-accenting seaming, leather work and inventive use of knits. The colors he favored tended to the somber, mostly neutrals and earthtones, his masterful cut and blatant body promotion carrying the impact.

In his early years on his own, he favored the broad shoulders that were part of the revival of 1940s styles begun on an industry-wide scale in 1978 and famously exaggerated by his friends Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana.

His body emphasis outdid that of his colleagues, though, becoming his signature. Though he mostly relied on fit, cut, and seaming to reveal the body, by the early nineties he was incorporating corselets and bust wiring.

Alaïa was voted Best Designer of the Year and Best Collection of the Year at the Oscars de la Mode by the French Ministry of Culture in 1984 in a memorable event where Jamaican singer Grace Jones carried him in her arms on stage.

Maison Alaïa at Azzurro Due.

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Van Baerlestraat 3 •

1017 AL Amsterdam

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