As Arnaud Maillard and Alvaro Castejón wrapped up an intimate show-and-tell of their latest collection, they mentioned how Azzaro
has been performing well in Asia, and that expanding the brand's North American presence is now top priority. It's not an insurmountable challenge if they can get their dresses on the leading ladies of Nashville
. Fictional as Juliette Barnes and Rayna Jaymes may be, their performance dress code—sexy, sparkly, swishy—dovetails precisely with the designers' glitzy vision. The collection featured plenty of unabashed razzle-dazzle, with beaded fringe, crystal-covered paneling, and cutouts traced with mirror pieces. Yet none of this was as provocative as a full-length black dress with an undulating sheer panel that exposed a strategic amount of torso down the front and a surprising amount of cheek up the back. A conservative version filled in the serpentine-shaped peekaboo with translucent paillettes and Swarovski crystals.
For the few pieces that qualified as daywear, hand-embellished disco bits settled onto epaulets and cuffs. A silvery knit sweater patterned in a diamond grid of micro monochromatic chain mail was akin to finding a precious pearl within a trunk of rhinestones. Likewise the geometric dévoré jersey—it could have been given a starring role. Instead, the collection intensified the brand codes to a fault. You might spot the body-skimming dresses on celebrities attending gala fund-raisers in Monte Carlo, or on television divas, but you'll be less likely to see them in the real world.