Dashing designer Yigal Azrouël always has an air of mystery about him, which shows through in his cutting-edge creations. Born in Israel of French-Moroccan descent, the movie-star handsome 42-year-old, who often is known professionally by only his first name, has no formal training in fashion design.
Yet he has carved out a successful 17-year career, attracting such hip celebrity clients as Kendall Jenner, Brittany Snow, and Kristin Wiig, who go for his experimental jersey T-shirts, shrunken leather jackets, and draped dresses.
In advance of his visit to Dallas for a personal appearance at Tootsies on August 20, Azrouël talked with CultureMap by email about his love for surfing, his favorite recent movie, and his feminine-with-an-edge Texas customers.
CultureMap: What has been the highlight of your summer?
Yigal Azrouël: Weekend getaways are important to me — especially with the quick pace of New York. I enjoy traveling out east to go surfing and upstate to stay tranquil.
CM: Where do you surf?
YA: Since I live in Manhattan, I go on trips every weekend to the Rockaway beach for surfing.
CM: What was your inspiration for the collection that you will be showing in Dallas?
YA: The fall 2015 collection was inspired by the idea of going against the grain, of individualism clashing against an existing system. I drew inspiration from artists known for their untraditional approach to art and design, which included the works of Man Ray and Kazimir Malevich.
CM: What is your favorite piece from the collection?
YA: When I design a collection, I really have the collection in mind, with each piece telling a consistent story. It’s hard for me to choose a favorite!
CM: What are you looking forward to about your Dallas visit? Will you have any time to see the city?
YA: I always look forward to meeting with the women who are wearing my designs. At the end of the day, that’s who I’m designing for. Unfortunately this trip is going to be a quick one. I have to get back to New York to continue working on the spring collection.
CM: What is your impression of the Texas customer? How does she want to dress nowadays?
YA: When I think of the Texan customer, I think of a bold and vibrant personality. She embraces her feminine side but has a little edge.
CM: Outside of fashion, what excites you right now?
YA: I find inspiration in many different places. For me, I always believe in the intersection of art and fashion, which is why I am trying to work on more collaborations outside the fashion world. For example, the ballet collaboration I did with Works + Process (a performing arts series at the Guggenheim Museum).
CM: Do you have any book, CD, movie, or TV show to recommend now?
YA: Recently I went to the premiere of Irrational Man. I always have been a big fan of Woody Allen’s work.