Fashion / Style

The Mad Fashion Scientist — This Dreamy Designer Experiments With Wild Fabrics

Inside Yigal Azrouël’s Hollywood-Friendly World 

BY // 03.02.18

NEW YORK — Celebrating two decades in the fashion business, Yigal Azrouël is a real American success story. The dreamy Israeli-born designer of French and Moroccan descent landed in New York in the late 1990s with plans to study fashion or architecture. He put together a collection at the suggestion of a friend and Barneys picked it up.

Since then, he’s been a darling of the Hollywood set for his minimalist, architectural designs marked by expert draping and a fascination with fabrics. He incorporates such techo fabrics as scuba neoprene and TC (Tetron Cotton), a cotton/polyester combination that is super lightweight and wrinkle-resistant, with jersey and leather into his designs to created additional texture and attitude.

“For me, it’s 20 years, but it feels like yesterday,” Azrouël said during a tour of his Garment District showroom during New York Fashion Week. “It’s a job, but it’s my life also, which I really love. I come to work every day like it’s my new beginning and I’m excited.

“And I’m looking forward for many more years to come to create and work and collaborate and experiment and do all that stuff.”

Rather that mark the anniversary with a big fashion show, Azrouël opted to show his collection in individual sessions with a select group of fashion writers. He plans a year-long celebration with parties, special capsules, and films.

“I like the idea of walking through the collection with the buyer, with the stylist, with the editor,” he explained. “Sometimes at fashion shows, you kind of get lost about what it’s about. Of course, it’s a show and it’s fun. But this is my show, this is my home, this is my atelier, this is where I work, so really the soul comes from here.”

To create the special collection, he looked to the past, sifting through his archives and even some old Polaroids from previous shows. “Sometimes you don’t realize how much you forget of so many things you have done until you dig in and find all this amazing stuff that you have done in the past,” he said.

As he always has, Azrouël plays with the idea of combining masculine and feminine details. Fluid jersey dresses with handkerchief hemlines — some with detachable sleeves — are detailed with metal zippers and leather detail while a herringbone skirt is marked with an above-the-knee slit and a black leather patch.

He also has deconstructed some of this greatest hits over the years with new more lightweight fabrics and innovative designs. His classic padded leather jacket now comes with chunky wool knit sleeves, a sweater top features rounded short sleeves and a two-tone peplum accent, and a dress and blouse in an eye-catching teal fabric features a cold shoulder look on only one shoulder.

“We have a lot of new fabrications for this season, but of course the heritage of the brand, like the jersey, the scuba, some of the other woven fabrics, silk, the Georgette, and all of that stuff, I kind of like to play with,” he said.

In Houston, the Yigal Azrouël collection is available at Elizabeth Anthony.

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