May 31, 2012 New York
Yigal Azrouël's latest outing was inspired by an outing of his own: a trip to Japan that began as business and ended as pleasure, when the designer found himself too wrapped up in the country to leave. He was thinking in particular, he said at a preview, of Japanese gardens. The question they pose for a designer is how to balance prettiness with chic. Azrouël bounced from hard-edged to floral and back with a collection that sometimes hit and sometimes missed. There were body-con dresses with architectural seams and jagged layers of flaring skirts that recalled other designers' recent fare, not always to their own advantage. More successful were pieces that wore their specialness lightly. A dress and skirt in Yves Klein blue paisley jacquard not only hit the brocade trend of the moment but did so in a subtle, blink-and-you'll-miss-it way. Likewise the motorcycle jacket that close up revealed itself to be embroidered then perforated organza, a minor miracle of production. That, actually, felt authentically Japanese, an homage to a country where no price is too high for perfection. For the full look, the designer leavened the high with the low: Azrouël showed it with leather leggings miraculously safe for the wash.
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