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Yigal Azroul


Designer Yigal Azrouël is a hard guy to pin down. There was New York Fashion Week, of course, where he introduced his spring collection. And then it was on to Paris. After a flurry of emails, we caught up with him in advance of the recent Heels2Heal fashion show in La Jolla benefiting Miracle Babies, a San Diego nonprofit that helps families with critically ill newborns.



Azrouël, known for his ultra feminine draping and modern silhouettes, launched his eponymous women’s wear label in 1998. Two years later, his designs debuted at New York Fashion Week, and soon after, he opened his showroom and atelier in the city’s Garment District, where the company continues to stitch most of its collections. Azrouël opened his flagship boutique in the city’s Meatpacking District, later moving it to Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side. He also designs a full menswear line, accessories and shoes, and Cut25, a contemporary brand.



“Modern, but simplistic and minimal,” Azrouël replies, when asked to describe his design aesthetic. “My pieces definitely have a graphic and architectural feel.” He says he draws inspiration from the women for whom he designs as well as the process itself. “I discover each collection as I play with luxurious and unique fabrics, while draping them to construct a story for the season.” The story for spring is “chic and strong” with “seductive elements that make it feminine at the same time.”



One of Azrouël’s muses is sister Miriam Smotrich of Rancho Santa Fe, among the most stylish women in San Diego, who most often wears designs by her brother. “Do you ever collaborate on your collections? Does she give you advice?”; we ask. “I always design with a woman’s fit and persona in mind,” he says. “So naturally, my sister’s advice is invaluable. I have five sisters, so I know how important it is to listen to their feedback!”
Heels2Heal, a nonprofit based in La Jolla, raises funds and awareness for San Diego charities. Its members and supporters are philanthropic fashion enthusiasts who want to support area businesses and give back to the community. (858.208.0270, www.heels2heal.org)   ANDREA NAVERSEN


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