Naomi Campbell has paid a moving tribute to designer Azzedine Alaia, the man she called "papa", on the day of his funeral which took place in Tunisia on Monday.The French-Tunisian fashion designer passed away in Paris on Saturday at the age of 77 after suffering a heart attack. From the age of 16 the model enjoyed a long and close relationship with the designer, who was famous for his body-con silhouette. And while in Tunisia for the designer's funeral, she wrote a long post which she shared with her 4.5 million followers, paying tribute to Alaia for carrying out all "the fatherly duties my unknown father should have".
"Dear papa, I was blessed in my life to meet you and for your embrace at 16, so many wonderful memories of you through out our journey together," wrote Naomi. "I got to experience what it was like to be around a Genius !!! You taught me and opened my eyes to so many things in life, and how to strive for perfection, as you were PERFECTION and UNIQUE and will always be."
RELATED: Azzedine Alaia dies aged 77
Naomi Campbell paid tribute to Azzedine Alaia following his death
As well as their professional relationship, Naomi has previously shared that the designer taught her everything she needed to know about the fashion business and Alaia acted as a surrogate father to the model, whose father abandoned her mother, dancer Valerie Morris, when she was just four months old. "You did all the fatherly duties my unknown father should have... You protected me and loved me unconditionally. I'm eternally, grateful to you the day you picked up the phone and called my mother to tell her you were taking me in,” she continued.
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"Papa until we meet again on the other side, I know you will continue to guide me, and always be in my heart. May you Rest In Peace I love you papa Ta Fille Naomi." She ended the tribute by thanking her friends and fans for their condolences. Naomi reportedly accompanied Alaia's remains from France to Tunisia, where he was laid to rest at the Sidi Bou Said cemetery in Tunis. She was seen leaving the late designer's home to attend his funeral and at the memorial she was photographed looking visibly upset.
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, Culture Minister Mohamed Zine El Abidine, Tunisian-Italian model Afef Jnifen, and many others also attended the memorial. Following the news of his passing, many celebrities, including Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga took to social media to pay tribute to Alaia.