Supermodel Naomi Campbell leads mourning for fashion’s ‘King of Cling’

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Naomi Campbell (L) at Azzedine Alaia's funeral in Sidi Bou Said on November 20, 2017

Supermodel Naomi Campbell and
Tunisia’s president led mourners in a final tribute Monday to
French-Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, who died this month
aged 77 after winning a worldwide following. Campbell
and fellow fashion icon Farida Khelfa, close friends of Alaia,
accompanied his remains from France to Tunisia, French Ambassador
Olivier Poivre d’Arvor told AFP.

Alaia,
dubbed the “King of Cling” for his form-fitting gowns, was buried in the
famous blue and white village of Sidi Bou Said on the shores of the
Mediterranean.

Tunisian mourners carry the coffin of late French-Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, who died this month aged 77, during his funeral in the Sidi Bou Said cemetery in the capital Tunis on November 20, 2017

Tunisian
mourners carry the coffin of late French-Tunisian fashion designer
Azzedine Alaia, who died this month aged 77, during his funeral in the
Sidi Bou Said cemetery in the capital Tunis on November 20, 2017
(AFP)

An
AFP journalist saw Campbell leaving Alaia’s home surrounded by dozens of
people to head for the cemetery of Sidi Bou Said in the northern
suburbs of Tunis.
Visibly moved, she picked her way between the cemetery’s modest white tombstones on Khelfa’s arm.
President Beji Caid Essebsi, Alaia’s relatives and public figures took part in the commemoration.
Culture
Minister Mohamed Zine El Abidine paid tribute to Alaia, saying the
designer’s work had expressed “the quintessence, the beauty, the fertile
imagination” of Tunisia.
Among Alaia’s admirers at the funeral, Tunisian designer Salah Barka gave hommage to the man he considered to be a master.
“I
learned a lot with Azzedine Alaia,” he said. “He sculpted women’s
bodies. I learned to mix colours, to blend materials, to give
character…”

Franco-Tunisien fashion designer Azzedine Alaia poses for a photograph at the Maison Alaia in Paris on September 7, 2017

Franco-Tunisien fashion designer Azzedine Alaia poses for a photograph at the Maison Alaia in Paris on September 7, 2017
(AFP)

Alaia
was born to a farming family in Tunisia in 1940 and studied sculpture
at the capital’s fine arts school before working at a modest
neighbourhood dressmaker’s shop.
He moved
to Paris in the late 1950s, working briefly for Dior and Guy Laroche
before going solo, winning a reputation for sexy designs celebrating the
female form.
His muses ranged from
French actress and singer Arletty to Hollywood icon Greta Garbo and
statuesque Jamaican singer and actress Grace Jones.

A visitor looks at a dress designed by Azzedine Alaia at the Museum NRW-Forum in Duesseldorf, Germany on June 11, 2013

A visitor looks at a dress designed by Azzedine Alaia at the Museum NRW-Forum in Duesseldorf, Germany on June 11, 2013
(AFP/File)

Alaia
gained world fame in the 1980s with tight black shorts and back-zipping
skirts, designs that helped define the confident female silhouette of
the time.
He refused to march to the beat
of international fashion weeks, however, releasing his collections in
his own time with scant concern for publicity.
Among others, Alaia dressed pop sensation Tina Turner, supermodel Carla Bruni, and former American first lady Michelle Obama.

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