Tunisian designer Ali Karoui
Tunisian designer Ali Karoui is drawn to the “mystery that surrounds the world of haute couture”. Image Credit: Instagram @alikaroui

Tunisian designer Ali Karoui is best known for his red carpet haute couture as the favoured creator for fashion icons such as Cristiano Ronaldo’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez. He chatted to The Kurator exclusively about being at the zenith of the world of fashion.

What draws you toward the world of haute couture instead of ready-to-wear?

I like this idea of making people dream through creation… And the rarity and the mystery that surrounds the world of haute couture.

Your interest in fashion began at an early age - how did your upbringing in Tunisia inspire you to go into fashion design?

I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where women are treated like queens. I was looking at the closets of famous couturiers when I was a child, especially that of my grandmothers and mother, and that’s what gave me the love that I have today for haute couture.

You now dress A-listers and celebrities all over the world - does this create additional pressure to impress and attract attention with your designs?

Yes, of course, it creates a bit of stress because the more we are known the more demand there is on us, and it means more work for me and my team, but it is so enjoyable to see your creations worn by celebrities on the world’s biggest red carpets. It is a consecration for each artist to see his work recognized.

How did you first start collaborating with Georgina Rodriguez and in a way creating her signature look for her?

I met the beautiful Georgina at the Cannes festival in 2019. Her stylist contacted me to try one of my dresses that she saw in a picture. As she said on Netflix, I’m not trying to change her, she fell in love with my work and since then we are inseparable.

Georgina Rodriguez
Cristiano Ronaldo’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez is Ali Karoui’s muse. Image Credit: Instagram @alikaroui

Your style can be interpreted as somewhat risqué - has this affected your career early on and did you face resistance in the Arab world of fashion design?

In no case did it affect my career, on the contrary, my style has made me known all over the world. You must believe in your dreams and continue to move forward, that is the key to success.

What kind of influence did Azzedine Alaïa have on you?

Azzedine Alaïa was a visionary. I had the chance to meet him several times. He gave hope to young Tunisian fashion designers, and allowed us all to dream that for us too, it was possible…

Lebanese supermodel Loujain Adada i
Lebanese supermodel Loujain Adada in an emerald gown by Ali Karoui. Image Credit: Instagram @alikaroui

Who are some other fashion designers that you respect or that you looked up to early in your career?

There are many… I was in love with the vision of Gianni Versace, Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, and the master, Alaïa. Legends!

Do you keep an eye out on young and up-and-coming designers from the North Africa and Middle East region?

Of course! Many of them have a very bright future.