Azzedine Alaïa: Popular Tunisian couturier dies aged 77

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Alaïa was fascinated by the human form and his designs were often close-fitting

The celebrated Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa has died at the age of 77, French media report.

Alaïa, whose close-fitting designs earned him the nickname "king of cling", achieved fame in the 1980s.

Clients included British model Naomi Campbell, US singer Lady Gaga, actress Greta Garbo and Michelle Obama.

Alaïa was known for his uncompromising attitude to exhibit his designs to his own schedule and was uninterested in the publicity of fashion weeks.

Barbadian singer Rihanna arrives at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles in a dress designed by Azzedine Alaïa, 10 February 2013 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Barbadian singer Rihanna in a dress designed by Alaïa at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in 2013
Former US President Barack Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at the opening of the Nato summit at the Kurhaus in Germany, 3 April 2009 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Michelle Obama wore an Alaïa dress at the Nato summit in Germany in 2009
Singer Lady Gaga attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, 22 February 2015 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lady Gaga in an Alaïa creation at the Academy Awards in Hollywood in 2015

Tributes were being paid to the couturier on social media on Saturday.

Lady Gaga said that Alaïa was a "genius in not only fashion but in his heart". In a statement posted on Twitter, the singer said the designer "should be celebrated as one of the greatest," adding: "I love you."

Singer Mariah Carey also thanked Alaïa in a tweet, adding that he was an "incredibly kind man".

Fellow fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier said that Alaïa was "brilliant" at combining traditional techniques and knowledge to create timeless items.

Alaïa, who was born in 1940, trained as a sculptor in his native Tunisia and remained fascinated by the human form throughout his career.

He moved to Paris in the late 1950s, working briefly for Christian Dior and Guy Laroche before becoming an independent couturier.

A creation by Tunisian-born, Paris-based couturier Azzedine Alaia is displayed during the press preview of the exhibition "Azzedine Alaia's soft sculpture" at the Galleria Borghese in Rome, 10 July 2015 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Paris-based couturier's exhibitions were displayed throughout Europe
A visitor looks at fashion designed by designer Azzedine Alaia at the Museum NRW-Forum in Duesseldorf, western Germany, 11 June 2013 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fashions by Alaïa on display in Duesseldorf, western Germany, in 2013

Pictures by Getty Images

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