For his second couture collection for Azzaro, Olivier Theyskens wanted the lineup to reflect his creative process, which spans ready-to-wear and men’s wear offerings.

“By the time I get to the couture part, I often want timeless dresses, ones that are just an idea, sometimes disconnected from the season,” he said during a showroom preview, explaining that all three lines were in continuity. “I wanted a form of obviousness in these designs that weren’t made for a runway, but to be keys [into the house’s identity].”

Chief among those ideas is the three-ring signature of the house, executed in crystals and shard-shaped metal sequins on the back of a deceptively simple long black sheath with mousseline sleeves — he pointed it out as the first sketch of the season.

This notion of elevated simplicity continued in an A-line shift dress covered in jet-black beading in circular patterns, or on sharply tailored gowns adorned with scatterings of glittering crystals. Opulent materials, such as embroidered silver floral brocade or sprays of marabou feathers, were balanced by almost severe cuts. A statuesque glittering red look revealed itself to be a wide-leg jumpsuit when in motion.

Everywhere the Belgian designer also used metallic tones to great effect. There were discrete lines of crystals highlighting openings or necklines, or liquid-looking satins, but he also covered entire looks in metallic elements — a men’s jacket covered in metal slivers from the upscale Atelier line, visible in the season’s film, ended up looking like tailored chainmail. Those provided the most striking visuals of the season’s film, their quicksilver gleam playing off a mirrored set that nodded to the founder’s apartment.

“They have to be jewels but in the house, there’s this notion of practicality. Many of those who have famously worn Azzaro were performers, so designs didn’t have that dollhouse fragility often associated with couture,” he said. “Couture is a celebration of what an atelier has to offer. Their experience is what is precious and brings something more to even the simplest shapes.”

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