The Maison Alaïa is a fashion house founded by the late Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaïa. Alaïa showed his first ready-to-wear collection in 1981, and popularised the stretchy body-conscious silhouette, accentuating the bust and cinching in waists, earning him the name 'King of Cling'.
Azzedine Alaïa grew up in Tunisia, his first apprenticeship was to a midwife with whom he helped deliver babies from the age of 10. He possessed a passion for the arts from a young age, eventually studying sculpture in the local École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis. In 1957, he moved to Paris and worked for some of the biggest names in the fashion industry at the time, including Christian Dior, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler, and mixed with the women of high society in Paris, such as Simone Zehrfuss. In the late seventies, he opened his first atelier in his small apartment, from where he created gowns for the fashion glitterati such as Marie-Hélène de Rothschild and Greta Garbo. In 1979, he designed costumes for the cabaret Crazy Horse. He would later design costume for opera and ballet, and became well known for foregoing the conventional fashion schedule and producing at his own pace.
In 2007, he founded the Association Azzedine Alaia with Christoph vo Weyhe and Carla Sozzani to protect his archive, and for more than 40 years, the late couturier kept one of everything, including prototypes that were never produced. Today the archives count some 25,000 pieces, plus all the original patterns. Throughout his lifetime, multiple exhibitions were dedicated to Alaïa's work, from his first retrospective in Florence in 1996, curated by Carla Sozzani, to Alaïa and Balenciaga, Sculptors of Shape in 2020.
In 2000, Alaïa signed a partnership with the Prada Group in 2000. He then bought his brand back from the group in 2007 to enter an agreement with Richemont. In November 2017, at the age of 82, Alaïa died in Paris.
In February 2021, Pieter Mulier was announced as the maison's new creative director.