Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week: Yigal Azrouël’s Dark Romance and Composed Demeanor, an Interview with the Designer

It’s a peculiar thing to go backstage before a runway show. The atmosphere is at once highly charged and quietly intimate—imagine arriving at a friend’s house an hour early for an incredibly important dinner party, if your friend was an artful chef and the guests were the world’s most important gastronomes. As I watched Israel-born Yigal Azrouël wind quickly and kindly between models just moments before his fall collection hit the floor, that was what I thought of. He tamed coifs, he straightened lapels, he was easy and calm and totally in control.

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“I love to design with a strong, confident girl in mind,” he told me later via email, and on Friday morning I could feel him imparting that confidence to each of the women he touched. Later, after a beautiful show, he answered some questions about the darkly romantic looks he issued for fashion’s most important season.

What was on your mood board for the fall collection and runway show?

A lot of works of art: portraits and period paintings—one of a black rose really inspired me.  It set the tone for the entire collection, which is based on finding the light and beauty within any interpretation of darkness.

It’s a play on light and dark, innocence and imperfection. Art and sculpture were a constant influence as well. The structured skirt silhouettes, precise cutouts, pleating, ruching and framed binding are all inspired by architectural form.

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What informed the styling of the collection? How do you imagine them being worn together—and by whom?

The styling is so important. It makes the story. Ours was focused on layers and pairings of contrasting fabrications, textures and colors to create depth and dimension, with unexpected modernism. My collection is always about the girl taking it there. A look can be interpreted in so many ways, it really depends upon the woman wearing it to bring it to life. This season, it was about exposing light within her complexity.

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How does New York inform what you do? In what ways does the city assert itself in your brand’s look and style?

New York influences everything in my collection. It is the heart of my company. We maintained such a unique process in designing and producing this runway collection, working almost exclusively here in New York to source fabrics and trim, constructing every runway look in house, injecting heart and soul into the precision and detail of every piece—they all have a special story.

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Shop: current season Yigal Azrouël

—Laura Cassidy