NEW YORK — Yigal Azrouël is the latest designer to venture overseas, by wholesaling internationally for the first time.

The company has partnered with the Studio Zeta showroom in Milan to sell its ready-to-wear collection, but domestic accounts will still be handled by the showroom here. Azrouël’s spring pre-collection will debut July 1 in Italy.

Donata Minelli, managing director of the New York-made label, said, “We feel like we are in a comfortable place in regard to our base distribution in the U.S. We were getting a lot of interest from international stores via our Web site and by those who were visiting our New York boutique.”

The company expects to open new business in 18 countries through 45 retailers within the next year, she said. Russia, Germany, Italy, the Middle East and England are particular areas of interests.

Azrouël plans to spend a considerable amount of time in the new showroom and in Italy, where he sources fabrics.

“As our distribution opens up in different countries, Yigal will be making more special appearances,” Minelli said. He will make his first personal appearance at Harrods in London on Wednesday.

A self-taught designer, Azrouël started his business in 1997 in Miami and opened a showroom here two years later. Faux layering, hand embroidery, and unexpected fabric and textures combinations are some of his signature techniques.

This story first appeared in the June 16, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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