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Azzaro Spring 2021 Couture

For obvious reasons Olivier Theyskens’s nearly year-long tenure at Azzaro hasn’t been marked by the red-carpet-star turns that defined the early years of his own label, or his runs at Rochas and Nina Ricci. The pandemic has shut down award ceremonies and movie tours, just like it has fashion shows. Yet Theyskens remains a star’s…

Azzaro Spring 2021 Couture

For obvious reasons Olivier Theyskens’s nearly year-long tenure at Azzaro hasn’t been marked by the red-carpet-star turns that defined the early years of his own label, or his runs at Rochas and Nina Ricci. The pandemic has shut down award ceremonies and movie tours, just like it has fashion shows. Yet Theyskens remains a star’s designer. Attuned to waist-whittling details and face-flattering ones, he’s an expert of fit and filigree.

When Hollywood cranks up the PR machinery again post-vaccine, there will be dresses here to tempt celebrities and their stylists: a long-sleeved white column wreathed with bead and feather embroidery; a black number with built-up shoulders and a bodice picked out in crystals that calls to mind Adrian, the maestro of Old Hollywood glamour, as much as it does Azzaro. Another evening dress transfers Loris Azzaro’s signature strass-embroidered circular cut-outs from the front to the back, a clever move.

If the shutdowns have limited the label’s exposure, they’ve also allowed Theyskens more time than he might otherwise have had to dig into the house’s archives and to refine the direction in which he wants to take it. Theyskens’s men’s tailoring suggests he’s as pro-rhinestone and pro-sequin for the guys as he is for the girls. That said, he made a point of talking up simplicity on a Zoom call. “She has to be able to sit down and not break the dress,” he said.

Pointing out how Jane Birkin and Romy Schneider wore their Azzaro dresses “over and over,” he indicated he’s as interested in his clients’ candid moments as he is in the spectacular photo opportunities he’s been known to create over the years. That means that for Azzaro’s ready-to-wear, he’s working with stretch fabrics—materials he describes as “new to me”—and crepe. Still, there’s no shortage of sequins.

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