By and  on March 18, 2011

PARIS — Vanessa Seward, the designer who helped put Azzaro back on the fashion radar, is parting ways with the Paris-based house, WWD has learned.

Seward joined the company in 2002 as first assistant to the founding designer, Loris Azzaro. Following his death a year later, Seward was named creative director, relaunching and tweaking its glamorous eveningwear, including such iconic styles as the Three Rings dress.

Azzaro is expected to reveal Seward’s departure as early as today, characterizing it as an amicable parting that leaves the company in a solid financial position to pursue its development.

It is understood Azzaro will name Seward’s successor next month.

A vivacious brunette, Seward cooked up a slew of collaborations during her tenure, even allowing customers to personalize dresses on the company’s Web site. Prior to Azzaro, Seward had design stints at Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.

The designer’s departure comes on the heels of two management changes last year.

Sagra Maceira de Rosen, managing director of the luxury and retail division of Reig Capital, Azzaro’s parent company, left the company, as did Reig Capital’s chief executive officer José Caireta. The team at Azzaro had been a tight one, and Seward and Maceira de Rosen remain close friends, according to industry sources.

Founded in 1962, Azzaro quickly became known for body-hugging gowns worn by the likes of Marisa Berenson and Sophia Loren. Over the last decade, stars including Nicole Kidman and Penélope Cruz have worn Azzaro on the red carpet.

But the brand is probably best known for its men’s fragrances, produced by Groupe Clarins.

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