The supermodel also wore a gown by the late Tunisian designer to these prestigious fashion awards.
They shared a close bond for decades, with the supermodel even affectionately calling the esteemed designer “papa”.
So it was only fitting that Naomi Campbell was the one to deliver a stirring speech dedicated to the late Azzedine Alaïa at the Fashion Awards 2017.
The British Fashion Council’s annual awards, held this year at the Royal Albert Hall, brought together more than 4,000 attendees—including icons from the industry—for an evening of celebrations.
While honours went to designers including Christopher Bailey, Donatella Versace and Stella McCartney, a posthumous award was also given to Alaïa, who passed away in Paris last month at the age of 77.
Picking up the honour in his name, Campbell told the crowd that “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,” said the model, Business of Fashion reports.
Campbell was joined on the night by fellow Alaïa muses, AKA said daughters, including French-Algerian model, actress and filmmaker Farida Khelfa and Moroccan-Egyptian-Dutch model Imaan Hammam.
For the occasion, Campbell (who also brought mum Valerie Morris along on the night) chose an Alaïa creation, featuring a velvet bodice and sweeping tulle and lace skirt.
Khelfa also dipped into the late designer’s archives for the awards, selecting a LBD (Long Black Dress, in this instance).
The legendary couturier Alaïa, who was born and raised in Tunisia, was noted for his architecturally sculpted and form-flattering gowns, with his clients including screen siren Greta Garbo, Michelle Obama, Grace Jones and Madonna.
The designer, who moved to France in 1957 to begin his fashion career, started out working for Christian Dior, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler before launching his eponymous line in the late 1970s.
Alaïa’s first ready-to-wear collection, which made its debut in 1980, helped sky-rocket the designer to fame, with his star rising throughout the ’80s.
“I like women,” he said in a rare interview in 2013, according to The Guardian. “I never think about doing new things, about being creative, but about making clothing that will make women beautiful.”
The fashion world may have lost an icon, but Alaïa’s legacy will truly live on in his designs.