Azzedine Alaïa was, simply put, a master of his craft. The Tunisian designer, often referred to as the ‘King of Cling’, was a couturier whose technical intelligence, as well as his creative vision, earned him the reputation of one of Paris’ most esteemed dressmakers. Alaïa had an unconventional way of working; he shunned the seasonal calendar in the early 1990s and became an elusive figure in fashion.
His most recent work in the public eye involved dressing celebrities; Lady Gaga wore two custom Alaïa gowns to the 87th Academy Awards, for example, his first ever Oscar red carpet commission. His last couture presentation took place in July 2017, which came at a surprise to many; he had not shown a complete collection in six years and his return was met with acclaim.
On 18th November, the outspoken designer suddenly died, and the loss came at a shock to the industry. The tributes were numerous and touching; Naomi Campbell lead the way to honour her 'Papa' and the world, in a bittersweet moment, managed to redisocver his life, genius and craft.
The right brain to Yves Saint Laurent’s left brain, Pierre Bergé was arguably the most important figure in 20th Century fashion commerce. The formidable businessman transformed the scene of the garment industry when he convinced Saint Laurent to deprioritise couture and move into Ready-To-Wear. YSL’s debut RTW collection proved to be successful and the brand’s popularity would only continue to grow from there. Using the growing financial success of the brand, Bergé reformatted couture shows to additionally promote the house’s accessories and fragrances.
The volatile relationship between Saint Laurent and Bergé, which has achieved cult status in celebrity coupling, was testament to their contrasting dispositions and yet neither could have succeeded without each other. They remained in each other’s lives as both personal and business partners until Saint Laurent’s death in 2008- it is said they lived as legal civil partners shortly before the designer’s passing. Pierre Bergé himself died 8th September 2017, aged 86, and is survived by his husband Madison Cox, whom he married the same year.
Having gone through three name changes to accommodate an ever-changing career, Hervé L. Leroux died 6th October 2017, aged 60. Most commonly referred to by his second name, (and most famous brand) Hervé Léger, the designer was born Peugnet and only upon Karl Lagerfeld’s advice did he change it to something more striking. During the Léger era, his career sky-rocketed thanks to his manipulation of stretch fabrics to create bandage dresses that were both sexy and comfortable. The world-famous Hervé Léger brand was synonymous with the feminine hedonism of the 1990s and pushed the boundaries of both style and textile use. In 1999, however, Léger lost commercial control of his name after his brand was acquired by BCBG Max Azria, and the designer was forced to begin a new stage of his career.
With the support of his pre-existing clients, he designed under the name Hervé L. Leroux and shifted his aesthetic to become, brilliantly put by his friend Dita Von Teese, the ‘modern Madame Grès’. His technical skills with draping and structure earned him some time as creative head of Guy Laroche and a guest slot in 2013 couture week, yet sadly Leroux could never replicate the success of his first label. His sister and business partner, Jocelyne, survives him.