|51 mm||17 mm||145 mm
Alaïa was born in Tunis, Tunisia, on 26 February 1935. 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 himself 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 and in 1957 he moved to Paris to work in fashion design and in 10 years he worked with Christian Dior as a tailleur, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler. For almost 20 years he privately dressed members of the world's jet set, from Marie-Hélène de Rothschild to Louise de Vilmorin (who would become a close friend) to Greta Garbo, who used to come incognito for her fittings. His first ready-to-wear collection was launched in 1980 and moved to larger premises on rue du Parc-Royal in the Marais district. In 1988 his seductive, clinging clothes were a massive success and he was named by the media 'The King of Cling'. Devotees included both fashion-inclined celebrities and fashionistas: Grace Jones (wearing several of his creations in A View to a Kill - 1985 James Bond movie, Tina Turner, Raquel Welch, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Brigitte Nielsen, Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Tatiana Sorokko, Shakira, Franca Sozzani, Isabelle Aubin, Carine Roitfeld, and Carla Sozzani. In 2000 sold his house to Prada. But in 2007 while working with Prada saw him through a second impressive renaissance, and in July 2007, he successfully bought back his house and brand name from the Prada group to sell it to Richmont group, however he kept refusing the marketing driven startegy of the group. Catherine Lardeur, the former editor-in-chief of French Marie Claire in the 1980s stated "Alaïa remains the king. He is smart enough to not only care about having people talk about him. He only holds fashion shows when he has something to show, on his own time frame. Even when Prada owned him he remained free and did what he wanted to do." His eyewear collections are completely aligned with his creative power and design language, presenting year after year new concepts and designs that keep dazzling the world of fashion consumers.