has evolved into quite a multifaceted designer. But there are still two ways of working with clothes that remain closest to his heart: Azrouël loves looks that hug a woman's body, and he has a keen instinct for conveying a sense of ease. This season he emphasized those themes. There was a close fit, for instance, to much of the tailoring, with bustiers and snug jacquard and double-faced wool dresses emerging at regular intervals. The simplest of these looks were the strongest; the all-gray wool look matching slouchy trousers and a bustier backed in leather quietly made a strong statement. On the other hand, Azrouël's experiments with sculptural embellishment served mainly to disrupt the fluid lines of his tailoring. The designer had more consistent success with his relaxed looks; perhaps the standout piece in this collection was that slouchy trouser, seen in the charcoal gray look and reiterated in double-faced wool, a houndstooth knit, and leather. The trousers were like a dressed-up version of boyfriend denim, and they worked.
Elsewhere, Azrouël played the opposite trick, giving some unexpected slack to a lean suit of freckled navy wool, and un-fussing the bouclé knit jacket by motorcycle-izing it. Other notable pieces included a shearling sweatshirt and a coat-length hand-knit cardigan. Meanwhile, the outerwear was outstanding, with top marks going to Azrouël's natty anorak and parka and his show-opening black coat with zip-off ponyskin sleeves. Zipper details recurred frequently here and made for an effective grace note wherever they appeared. All in all, this was a collection with a nice sense of structure and a fair amount of panache; there were some flubs, but none fatal to the impression that Azrouël was back on terra firma.