Young, handsome, and extremely talented, Yigal Azrouël is one of the most exciting women’s wear designers around. Largely self-taught, he is known for creating modern clothes that are elegant and sexy—but never vulgar. His fans include Natalie Portman, Jessica Alba, Eva Mendes, and Charlize Theron. Based in New York, he’s making a stop in Santa Barbara (at dressed & ready), where fans will get a chance to shop the 2010 spring/summer collection and preview his 2010 fall collection. I caught up with Yigal via email on the eve of his S.B. visit.
What is your earliest fashion memory? Seeing my mom and sisters dress for the holidays
What did you observe, fashion-wise, growing up in a household with five sisters? A lot. They are all older than me—a couple as much as 20 years older—and all of them beautiful. They all had their own fashion sense but shared a strong femininity.
How/why did you become a fashion designer? It was a very organic process. I started out making personal pieces and realized that I actually like designing. I am self-taught so I had a lot to learn technically.
How would you describe the woman who wears your clothes? Confident in her style and willing to try things that aren’t so mainstream.
Have other designers (living or dead) influenced your work? Too many to list all, but some living ones are Vivienne Westwood and Margiela.
What inspired your 2010 spring/summer collection? For spring I started to take a more minimal and structured approach. I created some new techniques in embroidery, “scalpel embroidery,” and really kept proportions to the body.
What are the “must have” items from your 2010 spring/summer collection? Black leather jacket with knit sleeves. It’s sharp and sleek.
What are the “must have” items from your 2010 fall collection? Cropped oversized knits
You also design menswear; do you find men easier to design for than women? Easier, maybe, but not as fun. Men don’t take the same risks as women do, so it’s a more simple formula. I also design for myself, so in a lot of ways I don’t have to think too hard.
List anyone (living or dead) whose style you admire or who you would like to see wearing your clothes. Kate Moss has great style.
What inspired your 2010 fall collection? It was an evolution of Spring. I showed a lot more tailoring – I think a pant suit looks so modern and chic.
Do you have any things you enjoy doing when you’re in Santa Barbara? Always hoping for a good swell to come in. I have been surfing since I was six years old
What music have you been listening to lately? A lot of French music from the ’60s and ’70s. For my show I always try to support smaller and local bands. I love the Chairlift song, “Flying Saucer Hat.”
If you did not design clothes, what would you do? Live in Costa Rica and surf.
Clothing designer Yigal Azrouël will make an appearance Thursday, March 18, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., dressed & ready, 1253 Coast Village Road, 565-1253; dressedonline.com