Last Thursday I had the great pleasure of interviewing design mastermind, Yigal Azrouel. Not only was he as handsome as his picture, he couldn’t have been more kind. Our interview felt more like a chat with an old friend, and I can’t wait to share his thoughts with you.
He also urged me to try on the gorgeous maxi skirt for him (see above), which of course I ended up buying at the end of our conversation. If you like it as much as I do, you can buy it in red here or at Forty Five Ten in Dallas. Yigal Azrouel is such a talented designer yet an incredibly humble man – I hope you enjoy the recap!
MB: You are one of the few designers I’ve seen that has managed to bring your menswear and womenswear collections together seamlessly as though they work in unison. Is there a specific process you go through to coordinate both collections?
YA: Although trends and tastes in men’s and women’s clothing are always different, I work on both collections at the same time, so it allows me to keep the focus on certain fabrics, color schemes and other design aspects.
MB: Do you prefer dressing men or women?
YA: For me, I love dressing women. I like to see men in more conservative looks, not too flashy or over-the-top, so it’s more fun to dress women. There’s more variety and depth to what are considered boundaries.
MB: There’s a ton of holiday shopping going on right now. Do you have anything particular on your holiday wish-list?
YA: Yeah, I’m actually buying a new surfboard which I’m excited about. There’s a new store that’s actually opening this Saturday and they have this special surfboard I like. I grew up surfing in Costa Rica, and now I have a house there too. I’m also getting myself a new watch.. it’s actually an antique watch, but it’s new to me.
MB: Well I have to tell you, that killer red maxi skirt with the two slits is on my wish list. I have yet to try it on, but I saw it in white as well and fell in love!
YA: Yes that’s a great piece – you’re going to look gorgeous in it. When I first saw you I thought a model walked in, you have to try it on for me.
MB: Ha, well I don’t know about that, but I will absolutely try it on! Regarding the sexy slits and deep V’s I’ve seen in your Spring/Summer 2012 collection, how would you recommend styling those pieces for someone who wants to test out the trend, but typically dresses themselves more modestly?
YA: You can definitely layer the pieces and put like a nice tank shape underneath the low neckline pieces. Also for the runway shows, some of the hems and accents are exaggerated, so what you see on the runway might not actually be what is in production.
MB: Since discovering your designs, I’ve quickly become a big fan of your contemporary line, Cut25. How did you come up with the name for that?
YA: 25 is actually my lucky number – I was born on August 25th, in the Israeli alphabet 25 is the letter “Y”. My parents didn’t plan that, but it just worked out that way. Cut is the word that we use in the industry, so I was trying to think of what word I could use with that number. Cut25 was the combination I felt most strongly for. We are actually opening up the first Cut25 shop in Soho this January, so when you come up for fashion week you’ll have to stop by and check it out.
MB: Speaking of fashion week, what are your favorite events throughout that week?
YA: There are a lot of events, but for me it’s all a festive week. It’s very stressful beforehand when getting it all together before the runway shows, and then when the events begin, it’s just fun to see how everything unwraps. You can expect a lot of celebration, a lot of excitement, and you are reborn every time you do it.
MB: Any plans to expand to handbags, shoes or accessories in the near future?
YA: We do some, it’s not a big part of my collection, but we do accessories on a small scale. We plan to grow soon to add more and more shoes and handbags.
MB: According to your website, you work closely with many charities which I admire. Is there one charity or foundation that you feel particularly drawn to?
YA: I love any work for children – I love children. The idea of giving back in any way to them is so important because we are depending on these kids and newer generations to keep up and improve the world around us.
MB: How would you describe the quintessential Yigal Azrouel woman?
YA: I have to say it’s not in fantasy, but the reality of confidence, not trying very hard, effortless and chic. The Yigal Azrouel woman looks nicely put together without too much going on. I love simplicity, so for me it’s not the clothes you wear but how you wear it… You must own the look and bring your own attitude and personality to it.
Thank you to Yigal Azrouel and Forty Five Ten for helping with the interview!