Brand Of The Moment: Alaïa
Brand Of The Moment: Alaïa

Brand Of The Moment: Alaïa

With its sell-out crystal and mesh ballet pumps, Le Coeur accessories and sublime SS24 couture show, French fashion house Alaïa is on a hot streak. Always feminine but often with an cool-girl edge, it’s become one of the most influential brands out there. Here’s why…
By Elaine Lloyd Jones

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.


Tunisia-born Azzedine Alaïa honed his skills working for Christian Dior, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler. He set up his own studio in Paris in 1964, and went on to show his first ready-to-wear collection in 1981. From then on, Alaïa was a major player, with its founder’s tight-knit dresses earning him a reputation as the ‘king of cling’. After he passed in 2017, it took the brand several years to find a creative director who could match up. With tenures at Raf Simons & Calvin Klein, Antwerp-based Pieter Mulier took the role in 2021 and the brand has been enjoying a series of hot fashion moments ever since. 


Alaïa always delivered feminine fashion with a point of difference. Pieter Mulier was tasked with using its archive to reimagine the brand’s offering for a contemporary customer. His most recent collections have focused on house signatures like knitwear, while keeping the focus on silhouettes and updating some of the brand’s classic styles. Laser-cut leather accessories have been scaled up for this year and skater-shaped skirts are omnipresent. But he has also introduced modern denim, a range of accessories – including the crystal and mesh perforated ballet pumps that have become the shoes of the moment – and heart motifs. 


Pieter Mulier told press his SS24 Couture collection was about simplicity and purity, about less meaning more, and about intimacy. Clothes were made from a single yarn of merino wool. The collection was inspired by curves and circles – the curves of women, and circles of friends and family. It features slinky knits, balloon pants and bunches of ruffles created by layer upon layer of tiny circles. By creating cool clothes for smart, affluent women, he delivered a collection of wearable couture that nearly broke the internet.


The brand’s fans and fashion moments span decades. Everyone from Greta Garbo to Cécile de Rothschild wore Alaïa in its early days. In 1984, Grace Jones was decked in a hooded Alaïa bandage dress to play the role of May Day in A View To Kill – the look is still iconic today. In the 90s, when supermodels reigned, Naomi Campbell was Alaïa’s ultimate muse. Today, the likes of Beyoncé, Kylie Jenner, Neelam Gill, Soho Taha and Camille Charrière are all fans – and testament to the label’s enduring appeal.



Draped Mesh Off Shoulder Top, AED 115 (was AED 165) | NA-KD
Draped Mesh Off Shoulder Top, AED 115 (was AED 165) | NA-KD

If the Alaïa price tag is out of reach, the good news is the high street has plenty of pieces to help you emulate the look. & Other Stories and Mango have some of the best crystal-embellished pumps, Wolford is a go-to for form-fitting bodies, while COS does great barrel trousers.

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