Sophistication Combined With Soberness from Olivier Theyskens for Azzaro

July 5, 2021

The collection that you are presenting is both timeless and contemporary. What feel did you want to give it?

This collection is important for me because I tried to express the spirit of the founder Loris Azzaro in my designs. I had the opportunity to discover the Azzaro pieces kept in the Galliera museum’s collections, which allowed me to get really close to the works. Infusing energy and personality – which were, incidentally, present from the very beginning of the house – into a contemporary design that speaks to me is the essence of my approach. Creating this dialogue is also a way of promoting the house’s key values and, I hope, achieving something timeless.

Why did you choose to associate sophistication to soberness?

In today’s world, I find it an explosive and classy move! Nonetheless, the looks have very bold and daring panels with great freedom of movement.

This wardrobe belongs to the night. What in your view has now changed in the approach to nighttime?

The collection’s glamorous aesthetic celebrates a nocturnal side in order to create something dreamlike and evoke the sense of time standing still in the evening, the night, its shadows and reflections. I like to think that it is a moment that is also a very personal experience, because there is a kind of intimacy in what happens in the evening, seduction, sophistication and self-expression.

Asymmetry is central in the collection and plays with the reflections of the show’s huge mirror. Why this choice of staging?

The very distinct asymmetric panels in many of the pieces in the collection made me want to view the looks from different angles. Through a reflection vertical to the models, I wanted to shake up our bearings and angle the perspective in space so that the reflection skims the models’ shoulders, revealing their hidden side to us.

What do these reflective interplays in the materials, decor, light and narration of this fashion show evoke for you?

I’m thinking of a lobby with imposing walls, icy reflections, a moment of flight from a jam-packed and very noisy nighttime venue, with a fuzzy ringing still buzzing in your ears.

The cuts are also a very strong theme found in the looks, highly mysterious without revealing anything, with very different techniques. What does that reveal about the Azzaro woman and man?

It all starts with the initial drawing and from the first sketches, I was caught up in the graphics of sharp panels, streamlined lines and formally strong designs. The materials are also often very technical and new. They take the studio’s know-how and tailoring into new technical dimensions.

We find strong references to Loris Azzaro in the pieces, such as rings and chains. How did they inspire you?

I wanted to explore embellishing the designs using unusual methods. I played with adding necklaces, chains and beads linking the dresses’ low necklines or sleeves. Sometimes the iconic rings pierce a suit, at other times the sides of a dress. The embroidery is created using metal caviar beads that are covered with clear Perspex plates, not forgetting the shine and radiance of all kinds of sequins that entirely cover certain looks or pile up at the necklines. I see a coherence in this style with Loris’ original approach.

The music is a track by Princess Demeny, an incantation of New York at night in the seventies and eighties that is both striking and dreamlike. Why did you choose it? What is the resonance with this collection?

I’m enchanted by the stirring performance by the poet, singer and director Princess Demeny, who in this track evokes the feeling that can overwhelm us when we come out of a dream, the affect of the events that have taken place there, which are blurry but leave an impression on us. The soundscape of the music adds a sophisticated, luminous and sensual aura that we find in the collection.

The show also presents several pieces for men in a creative fluidity with the women’s designs. How do you work in these two worlds? How do you see this dialogue between the two lines?

These worlds coexist and influence each other, exchanging materials and forms. As often happens with a real-life couple, there is an osmosis effect! All the more so as nowadays, for the best reasons in the world, this exchange is free and flowing.

I place a great deal of importance on showing the body off to best effect, whether through the shape or cut, for men and women alike.

Which piece in the collection was the most complex to create and why?

A great many technical challenges lie behind the design and creation of the pieces; the magic of the atelier’s work is to manage to make this effort look seemingly effortless.

It’s your third collection for the House of Azzaro. What’s your frame of mind?

I see that a lot of progress has already been made and that there is still much to be accomplished.

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