Showing posts with label Antonio Azzuolo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Antonio Azzuolo. Show all posts

Monday, 30 November 2009


And now for a post that doesn't feature me in it

   As an addendum to The Party Post, I'd like to reiterate that we're rolling headlong into the party season; a time of frivolity, stupidity, overconsumption, enjoyment and your parents being overly embarrassing/overly affectionate/overly or not so overly generous/overbearing pompous asses. For those of you who have more strings to your social bow than the ritual cheese overload and rite of humiliation/schadenfreude/sexual misadventuring that is the office Christmas Party, get dressed to express, impress and flounce the night away in as strut-worthy a manner as possible. Be glamourous. And if you cannot, be mildly insane:

Sammy Davis Jr.

From the aptly named Iconic Photos, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson in a London nightspot in 1936. The photographer, James Jarche, covertly concealed his camera in his bowler for just such an occasion. When did the paparazzi stop being so creatively underhanded? Today, such deviousness means that you're also paid to write about it or are reporting to a superior in at least one governmental departmment

Alain Delon

Claus von Bulow; socialite, theatre critic and Man With a Dark Side

Truman Capote accompanied by then Washington Post president Katherine Graham at his Black and White Ball, November 1966

Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones; the suit is actually an appealingly carefree shade of purple

Keef's bandmate and dandy drummer par excellence, Charlie Watts, in good company

On the far left, Julian Ormsby-Gore, late son of the also belated David Ormsby-Gore, 5th Baron Harlech and diplomat, accompanied by his sister, Victoria, and interior designer David Mlinaric, who sports a Mr. Fish suit since donated to the Victoria & Albert Museum. Alongside the other Ormsby-Gore siblings, the lifestyles of all three existed at the intersection of rock, aristocracy and hippydom during the Swinging 60s; Mlinaric was once asked to leave Annabel's for his flagrant sporting of a white suit. I can't help but approve

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick

Liliane Bettencourt with her late husband, André

The late Brooke Astor, long-lived socialite and social activist

Antonio Azzuolo A/W 2008

Renowned operatic soprano, the late Maria Callas

A recently departed pop colossus

   Note the stylish proliferation and use of accessories, from signature eyeframes to louchely held cigarettes, nonchalantly draped scarves to ethnic jewelry, studded sparkling belts to lustrous furs. Looks that kill

(Author's note: I'm shocked at how easily the opening paragraph wrote itself. Misanthropy Mode has its advantages. Perhaps by (re)attaching my "Keep Away" sign to my forehead over the holidays, I may finally get to catch up on my reading)

Monday, 27 April 2009

Setting the Style: Antonio Azzuolo

   It must be said, a lot of new designers don't just appear with the kind of pedigree, experience and class that Mr. Azzuolo's résumé boasts. A Ryerson University, Toronto graduate with a B.A.A. in Apparel Design (specialisation: Men's Tailoring), he achieved first place in the menswear category at the prestigious "Festival des Jeunes Stylistes de Hyères", having based himself and his work in Milan. Taking the opportunity presented by the award to move to Paris ensconced him in the offices of Kenzo and Hermès for over ten years, but perhaps his most gilded appointment was as design director for Ralph Lauren's Purple and Black Labels. Until he decided to strike out on his own. And naturally, that's where his work gets really interesting

   Beyond his achievements and accolades, Azzuolo carries an exposure to Italian bespoke tailoring that may as well be the result of DNA encoding, though that kind of argument carries greater weight considering both of his parents worked in fashion. But his background is not the only signifier of his potential for success, as his instinct for aesthetics has the rare blend of practicality and desirability that should be a bedrock in men's fashion. Azzuolo has a facility for cuts that are realistic and youthful without appearing as pastiche or cliché, and his responses to the various fashion trends of these hyperkinetic times gives a classical appearance to a majority of his pieces

   Which is just as well, because the lost aristocratic look is hardly a widespread phenomenon in today's world, but fans of slim trousers, bold primary colours, prints, dashing double breasted jackets, cropped tailoring and practical-yet-regal hooded coats are going to be keeping tabs on this line. Especially me. The a.a. collections are not sold in London, which leads one to wonder, "Isn't this exactly what Liberty is for?"

The line trades on menswear staples, building up the look of its customer through consistency and seasonal adaptability. Scarves add interest in looks all year round, while the accessories of gloves and buttonholes emphasise the completeness of a gentleman's look that can often be missed by today's sartorialists, who are perhaps too conscious of appearing overly layered or styled. Azzuolo's reference points have been bandied about in both interviews and articles, but it would be remiss of me not to point out the clean European refinement that pervades his work and makes the viewer instantly aware of his bespoke background. Add to this the old school rock'n'roll elements of tight fits, fingerless gloves and ostentatious use of opulent fabrics and accoutrements, and the line takes on a particularly energetic aspect

   Although he doesn't specifically reference the period, I can't help but think that the Bright Young Things, in a 21st century incarnation, would happily be clad in his designs. Other designers trading in updates of - and twists on - traditional menswear look to produce work that's more calculated in appearance, all shiny, flashy fabrics, barely controlled patterns and excessive or unnecessary detailing that verges on unviewable vulgarity. There isn't any of that here. This is a line that reflects the interests and personal history, rather than the lifestyle obsessions and glitz worship, of its creator. It's a line that just seems to make sense

   The work of his stylist, Sally Lyndley, is invaluable in promoting the attractions of the label. On the runway and in the photoshoots, her contributions emphasise the freedom of breaking suits down into adaptable pieces and, just as necessarily, balances the standard youthful appearance of the models with the bearing that Azzuolo's tailoring seems to instantly impart. On reviewing his debut show, The New York Times's The Moment made instant comparisons to Gossip Girl's moody manipulator, Chuck Bass, but this is more of a different animal to the teen idol, balancing layering and flair with more restrained palettes and an instinct for elegance than is seen whenever Ed Westwick is onscreen. But if there's any synergy between these two, it's an important one - a young man drawn to the idea of dressing up is always a boon, moreso if he has a creative taste that he can express through distinct, well kempt looks. And, tenuously or not, this link gives the line an additional shot of pop culture-friendly relevance

   This is far from the first post in blogworld on Azzuolo, and definitely not the last. Ordinarily, amongst a designer's product, there's normally one collection that inspires me with inquisitiveness and appreciation. Sometimes, two. Rare is the one that consistently keeps me watching, but if Azzuolo can parachute into my ones to watch with such efficiency, I'd be surprised if I didn't still care about him in 3 years time

Photos: a.a. and Men's Style

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