Feb 6, 2020
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Azzaro names Olivier Theyskens artistic director

Feb 6, 2020

The house of Azzaro has appointed Olivier Theyskens to be its new Artistic Director, in a surprise move sure to receive an enthusiastic response in fashion.

Anne Hathaway in Azzaro at 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild SAG Awards January 2009

Theyskens will be in charge of the brand’s Couture collections, Ready-to-Wear lines, and Women’s and Men’s accessories, said the house in a release. The appointment marks a significant shift in Paris fashion, as Theyskens has always been regarded as one of the industry’s most naturally gifted designers.

“I am very happy. There is this great heritage in Azzaro that I am very excited to discover and impatient to interpret. There is still a great deal of positivity around the great years of the house. People have very good, fond memories of Loris Azzaro,” Theyskens told FashionNetwork.com.

Born in Brussels, and a graduate of the city’s famed La Cambre fashion and design college, the Belgian designer will unveil his first collection for Azzaro during the next haute couture catwalk season in Paris, in July 2020. He will be based in the house’s workshops, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Though Theyskens added that he will continue to create collections for his own house. His next signature runway show is scheduled for Friday, February 28.

“Loris Azzaro left behind a considerable, very inspiring legacy. I am excited, thrilled and honored to have the opportunity of bringing my vision to this legendary, iconoclastic House, for which freedom and pleasure remain ever-as-contemporary founding values. I would like to carry on this atypical universe through my collections, while infusing them with my own perspective,” said the designer.

Back in 1998, Theyskens catapulted to global fame when he was only 20 years old, when Madonna wore one of his black satin dresses to the Oscars. The Belgian 43-year-old creator has gone on to become a highly experienced designer. Four years after his Oscar moment, he was named creative director of Rochas, and won the CFDA International Award in 2006, while still in his twenties. After Rochas’ owner Procter & Gamble closed down that house’s fashion business, Theyskens moved on to become the artistic director of Nina Ricci, dressing Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker on the red carpet. From 2010 to 2015 he was the creative director of Theory in New York, renamed in his honor Theyskens’ Theory, before departing to concentrate on his own signature collection back in Paris. At every stage winning critical acclaim for his bold draping, subtle use of historical references and careful dosage of tough chic.

Azzaro’s CEO Gabriel de Linage heralded Theyskens' arrival: “His renowned talent, experience and creative vision will empower the House's future with spirit and sparkle. Olivier Theyskens has a unique ability to immerse himself in a legacy and to revisit it with a contemporary verve. His fondness for asserted sensuousness and the flowing contrasts of materials and cuts naturally echo the style of Loris Azzaro and his emblematic muses. We are thrilled to welcome him to our House and to our historical workshops.”

Born to Sicilian immigrant parents and raised in Tunisia, Loris Azzaro launched his fashion house in 1967 in Paris. Going on to become couturier to the Jet Set, and dressing Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch and Liza Minelli in the smash hit cult film, Cabaret. In 1988, President François Mitterrand awarded the Légion d’honneur to Azzaro, who created a signature high-glamour style that blended body-conscious dressing with the dramatic use of pearls, precious stones and fantasy costume jewelry.

After the founder’s death in 2003, the house has gone through a series of designers – including Vanessa Seward, Mathilde Castello Branco and Maxime Simoëns – though Theyskens is unquestionably the most famous to have bene entrusted Azzaro, which since 2006 has been owned by Reig Capital.

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