Models, designers and influencers took to the red carpet to showcase their style prowess at last night’s Fashion Awards. And while their sartorial choices were mesmerising, it was a touching tribute to the late Azzedine Alaïa that really stole the show.
Naomi Campbell, alongside a whole host of models including Stephanie Seymour, Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Veronica Webb who were particularly special to the designer, gave a heartfelt speech that paid homage to his life and work.
Dubbing the group Alaïa’s daughters, Naomi shared an image of the collective to Instagram before taking to the stage clad in one of his creations to deliver a moving message about the fact that Alaïa’s legacy will continue, even though the man is no longer with us having died of a heart attack in November at the age of 77.
“Everyone in this room knows that Azzedine was able to transform a woman’s body into something special; make you look great and still like a woman,” Naomi told a hushed audience.
“He captured the essence of femininity. But beyond his work as a designer, from the second day I met him, he became my papa.”
“He was the most generous, kind, compassionate and humble man I have ever known, with a mischievous sense of humour in the glint of his eye, and he filled my life – and the lives of the women on this stage, and all of you in the room who met him – with light and joy,” she continued.
Going on to explain that she had moved in with the man she calls her “papa” at just 16-years-old, Naomi described how he’d opened her eyes to the world in more ways than one.
“There is no man who understood me like him, or who saw me in the way that he did. Always when I was with him he would make me feel like my 16-year-old self – and without him, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today,” she said.
The supermodel finished her special tribute by explaining how she’d always seen Azzedine as someone who had her back and how he has left an irreplaceable hole in not just the fashion family, but the world.
“He protected me in every way possible – even when I was attacked in Paris in 2012, papa came rushing out to stand in front of my attacker while I was pulled to safety,’ she said.
“Azzedine was a protector, a teacher, a seeker and defender of all that is good and positive in this world. I am proud to be honouring, along with his daughters, a giant of fashion and a true master of humanity.”