“He always believed in his vision, never compromised himself selling his soul to anybody. He’s been always about quality, not quantity, and he never cared about social and fashion trends. From him I learned to be faithful to your identity.” With those words, designer Riccardo Tisci summed up the view many fashion insiders had about one of the industry’s most luminous stars, Azzedina Alaïa.

Known for his exacting tailoring, his conscious attention to a woman’s silhouette, and for empowering all women who wore his designs to feel their most beautiful and confident, Alaïa rose to the highest ranks of fashion, despite bucking industry norms like collections delivered on regimented timetables. Sticking to his own schedule, the designer left us too soon when he passed away on Saturday, November 18, 2017.

At Barneys, we’ve always counted Monsieur Alaïa as more than a dear friend—he was more like family. We began carrying his jaw-dropping collections more than 35 years ago, an anniversary we celebrated just this past August with an exclusive capsule collection and a series of Madison Avenue windows. Upon hearing of his passing, we reached out to the Barneys team that has gotten to know him so well over the years, and asked them to share a few words.


Daniella Vitale, CEO

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Marina Larroudé, Fashion Director

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Simon Doonan, Creative Ambassador

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Tom Kalenderian, EVP/GMM Men’s and Chelsea Passage

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Sarah Blair, SVP/DMM, Women’s Accessories

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Tomm Miller, SVP Communications and Marketing


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A Barneys New York ad from 1983 for Azzedine Alaïa