Naomi Campbell has paid tribute to "papa" Azzedine Alaia's influence and heroics - including the moment he saved her in Paris.

Azzedine Alaia and Naomi Campbell

Azzedine Alaia and Naomi Campbell

The 47-year-old model - who described the late fashion icon as the father figure she never had after her biological dad abandoned her mother during pregnancy - recalled the terrifying moment she was targeted in the French capital five years ago.

Reflecting on how scared she was as a tall man attempted to wrestle her bag away from her after threatening to take her life, she told Vogue: "Papa comes out. The guy's this tall, there's a getaway bike for him, he's out there trying to fight him off for me.

"He could've been hurt, he didn't care. He went there to project me. He saved me. He was my papa."

Supermodel Naomi described their journey together as "very blessed", and candidly spoke of how Azzedine - who passed away in November aged 77 - was there for her in a way her biological father never was.

She added: "He did the things that my father, who I never met until I was 41 for five months, didn't do. Took me to the dentist, took me to museums, taught me about art, taught me about food, culture. I don't think I'll ever have that again. I definitely lived a very blessed journey with Azzedine."

The catwalk star also revealed that he taught her to not put too much pressure on herself, and to avoid getting burned out.

Asked what quality he left her with, she smiled: "You don't have to do everything. You don't have to run yourself ragged. You don't have to be there for everyone, you don't have to burn yourself out. You just need to make sure you pick the right one."


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