Alaïa was born in Tunis on 7 June 1939.His parents were wheat farmers but his glamorous twin sister inspired his love for couture.A French friend of his mother fed Alaïa's instinctive creativity with copies of Vogue.
He began studying sculpture where he gained valuable insights into the human form.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 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 the late 1970s.
He produced his first ready-to-wear collection in 1980 and moved to larger premises on rue du Parc-Royal in the Marais district.
Alaïa was voted Best Designer of the Year and Best collection of the Year at the Oscars de la Mode by the French ministry in culture in 1984 in a memorable event where Grace Jones carried him in her arms on stage!
During the mid-1990s, following the death of his sister, Alaïa virtually vanished from the fashion scene, however, he continued to cater for a private clientele and enjoyed commercial success with his ready-to-wear lines.He presented his collections in his own space, in the heart of the Marais, where he brought his creative workshop, boutique and showroom together under one roof.
In 1996, he participated at the Biennale della Moda in Florence, where along with paintings by longtime friend Julian Schnabel, he exhibited an outstanding dress created for the event. Schnabel-designed furniture, as well as his large scale canvases, are decorating Alaia's boutique in Paris.
While other designers clamor for the affection of fashion editors and store buyers, Azzedine Alaïa makes the industry come to him. The Tunisian-born designer doesn't advertise in magazines, is uninterested in social media and has no problem telling Anna Wintour, the revered editor of Vogue, that she has no taste or lasting influence. In more than 50 years in the fashion industry, Alaïa has worked with Christian Dior, Guy Laroche, Thierry Mugler and even Miuccia Prada. But it's his smaller, eponymous label, started in the late 1970s — along with his refusal to sacrifice aesthetic for fame — that's made him one of the greatest designers in history. A master at flattering the female figure, Alaïa created formfitting designs that earned him the nickname "King of Cling" during the height of his fame in the 1980s. In 1995 his name was immortalized in pop culture when Cher, the lead character of the film Clueless, resisted bowing down to a gun-pointing robber because she was wearing Alaïa — "a totally important designer." And indeed he was — and is nearly 20 years later.
Here you can see advertsiment made by him about Karl Lagerfeld: