Fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, the ‘king of cling’, dies at 77

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Fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, whose clingy dresses marked the 1980s and who dressed famous women from Hollywood to the White House, has died aged 77.

The French Haute Couture Federation announced Tunisian-born Alaia’s death on Saturday without providing details.

Twitter tributes to his influence on fashion poured in from around the world.

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

Alaia was sometimes dubbed the “king of cling” for the form-fitting designs he first made popular during the 1980s and updated over the decades.

Naomi Campbell was a favoured model, and Michelle Obama wore his designs as first lady.

His house’s website described him as “the little man in eternal Chinese pyjamas” who “built a legend, that of a rebel designer who worked against the system and its trends”.

Multiple museums have held retrospectives of Alaia’s work, including the Guggenheim in New York and Paris’ Palais Galliera, which put on a show in 2013 that highlighted his way of “slowing down time”.

Tributes were led by former French culture minister Audrey Azoulay, who recently became director of the United Nations cultural agency Unesco.

He said: “A genius who weaved connections among fashion, architecture and fine arts, sculpting creations to magnify women’s bodies.

“A free and generous man, loved and admired.”

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