Monday, November 08, 2010

7 Questions for menswear designer Antonio Azzuolo

Since launching his line a.a. in 2008, Antonio Azzuolo has caused quite a stir in the world of men’s fashion. His aesthetic has often been referred to as “prep-school chic” and was once even likened to the style of Gossip Girl’s infamous Chuck Bass. More recently, Azzuolo has incorporated a bit of downtown edge to his refined looks lending them an effortless cool that has universal appeal. Azzuolo was no stranger to the fashion industry. After graduating from Ryerson University in Toronto with a degree in Apparel Design, he moved to Milan where he was awarded first place in the “Festival Jeunes Stylistes de Hyeres.” Soon after this momentous win, Azzuolo moved to Paris and embarked on his professional career. He worked for over ten years at high-end New York and Parisian design houses including Hermes and Kenzo and most recently served as design director for Ralph Lauren Purple and Black Label. We love Azzuolo’s playful yet polished pieces and can guarantee that he is one to watch in the coming seasons! Read on to find out more about Azzuolo, his inspiration, and what’s next for this exciting new line.

1. How did you get your start designing?
I’ve been at a sewing machine since the age of 6.During University, I was studying Political Science and International Relations, and I was also designing and organizing shows. I then realized that I needed to pursue this career.

2. How did working at Ralph Lauren shape your design choices? What has changed in your aesthetic since you started your own line?

Working for such a prominent design institution definitely shapes or influences one's aesthetics for a certain time after. I was greatly inspired by Ralph's passion, vision and consistency in design. I hope that I have acquired some of the outstanding qualities attributed to such an exceptional label but would be very content to have achieved an aesthetic which is personal to my being.

3. How would you define your brand?
Fresh...youthful....poetic with exceptional craftsmanship. The a.a. collection simultaneously revisits and pushes the boundaries of classic men’s sartorial traditions. My reinterpretation of iconic elements of men’s dress create a fresh new approach to menswear; reflecting a versatile, chic and elegant mode of living which is open to personal interpretation by the consumer.

The result is a contemplative, conscious and fresh perspective, reflecting a newer movement in menswear.

4.Where did you get your design inspiration for your most recent collection?
A visit to The New Museum where I found illustrated children's books. My ideas later became more concrete and specific with The Adventures of Tin Tin.

5.With runway shows being streamed live via the internet and twitter following people's every move, how do you use today's technology to stay ahead in the age of fast fashion?

Staying ahead in the age of fast that possible? It sounds like an exhausting task... and maybe futile.It definitely has certain advantages, especially when it captures a great moment or communicates a great message!I will and do use some of it but also appreciate "Old School" approaches to things where contact, interaction and personal dimension take precedence over the virtual. For me this is more inspiring and nurturing.

6.Where do you go to get inspired?
Inspiration comes form everywhere...but not being in front of a computer.
I am inspired by the theatre, dance, reading Chekhov, the beach...and traveling...if I can't do any of that then I get on my bike and ride away!

7. What's next for a.a.?
Partnerships to help grow the business, expand into key accessories and focus on key signature a.a. items! That sounds like a good plan!