MADRID — Azzaro has tapped Arnaud Maillard and Alvaro Castejón, two Spain-based designers, as the French fashion house’s new creative directors.

This story first appeared in the June 11, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The duo will unveil a pre-collection of roughly 25 styles on July 5 at the Azzaro boutique in Paris, said Carlos Reig, president of Azzaro International and vice president of Andorra-based Reig Capital Group, the brand’s owner.

“There are lots of fantastic changes in the upcoming [spring 2014] collection. Everything is new, particularly colors and prints,” Reig said. “We have a good feeling about this one; the house is back again.”

In an exclusive interview in their downtown Madrid studio-showroom on Monday, Maillard and Castejón said they “respect and are playing with” Azzaro’s DNA, which means special-occasion clothes, long and short dresses for cocktail-evening and a few pants in bright colors like orange and fuchsia; floral prints “with a spirit of the Seventies”; sparkle and hand embroideries; contrasting textures; transparency, and innuendos.

“Not so much sexy as sensual, for instance, a wild animal’s clawed effect is embroidered on tulle meant to make a man want to rip [the garment] off,” said Maillard, with a smile.


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Color was always an Azzaro strength, he said, “and it will be again, especially in dégradé fabrics” and dégradé embroideries. “There are no shiny materials in the collection. The shine is in the embroidery,” said Castejón.

He promised a “big change. You have to be respectful of the brand, of course, but what we’re trying to do is interpret the Azzaro style with a new energy that adapts to our times.”

With a background that, for Castejón, includes stints at Alexander McQueen and Fendi and, for Maillard, a 15-year run with Karl Lagerfeld, the designers, 42 and 41 years old, respectively, formed their own Spain-based label called Alvarno in 2009. They specialize in made-to-measure women’s wear and present their collection twice yearly off-runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid.

According to Reig, Maillard and Castejón’s first effort will be marketed through multibrand retailers and company-owned stores in Paris and London. “Our first market is France, followed by the U.K., Russia and the United States, the Middle East, China — the company will open its premier store there in November — and Japan,” he said.

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