Garnering a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination is no small accomplishment, and Antonio Azzuolo isn't taking the nod lightly. Upon hearing of his nomination, the designer, who is going on his eighth season with his line, a. a., and also consulting for the eyewear maker Warby Parker, expanded his original plans for a modest "what would fit in a travel bag" lineup into a 25-look collection premised loosely on globe-trotting. That gave him the room to tackle more than his trademark tightly tailored jackets. "Young guys are interested in sartorial, timeless dressing, but they want it in a modern way," Azzuolo said. "The way we dress today, it's really a duality between the very tailored, sartorial look and the street."
In practice, this Montreal native tends to walk on the dapper side of that
street. His knits came in lushly soft merino wool, and an ice blue
turtleneck was an ode to Jacques Cousteau. Outerwear and jackets remain Azzuolo's strong suit. Sporty half-zip pullovers, a continuing silhouette from his Fall 2011 collection, came in bright yellow and red. Meanwhile, blazers—including one cut from a pink and lime print sourced from the French mill Malhia Kent, which supplies fabric to many of the couture houses—sported softened
shoulders and were neatly cropped. The designer, who paid his dues at Ralph Lauren, ran into some trouble lower down. A baggier trouser was a savvy idea, but the drop-crotch and bootcut-leg combination was less convincing.
Overall, though, you couldn't deny Azzuolo's skill or eye for glamour, and in three formalwear looks, he let his tailoring flag fly. "Many of my
friends were looking for options for weddings, and I do love the ceremonial," he said. One double-breasted dark charcoal suit flaunted rope shoulders, a more aggressive, slightly upward-sloping construction seen in seventies Brioni and current Tom Ford. By keeping the rest of the cut clean and sparse, Azzuolo made it work.