"Alaïa was born in Tunis, Tunisia in 1935. 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 lied about his age to get him into the local 'cole des Beaux-Arts in Tunis and 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 Bellechase apartment the late 1970s It is in this tiny atelier that for almost 20 years he dressed privately the world's jet set, from Marie-Helene de Rothschild to Louise de Vilmorin (who would become a close friend) to Greta Garbo, who used to come incognito for her fittings.
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 of Culture in 1984 in a memorable event where Grace Jones carried him in her arms on stage!
In 1980, while designer Andre Putman was walking down Madison Avenue with one of the first Alaïa leather coats, she was stopped by a Bergdorf Goodman buyer who asked her what she was wearing, which began a turn of events that lead to his designs being sold in New York and in Beverly Hills. By 1988, he had opened his own boutiques in these two cities and in Paris. 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), Tina Turner, Raquel Welch, Madonna, Brigitte Nielsen, Naomi Campbell (who is like a daughter to him), Stephanie Seymour, Carine Roitfeld and Carla Sozzani.
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.
He then signed a partnership with the Prada group in 2000. In the same year, he was honored with a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York, which initially had been launched in 1997, curated by Mark Wilson and Jim Cook at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands. 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, though his footwear and leather goods division continues to be developed and produced by the group." - Wikipedia.org