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2009 March 6

Best Dressed

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(PARIS) Malgré la crise, as the French say, chic most certainly goes on at Azzaro. Designer Vanessa Seward unveiled her Fall 2009 collection at the brand's mirrored boutique on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré yesterday in a presentation format. As two models presented the looks to a smattering of editors seated around a table, Seward discussed the collection's direction. "It's always an evolution of a style," she said. Signature Azzaro flourishes like crystal buttons, jeweled necklines and an intensified focus on gowns that are as beautiful in back as in front rendered these 40 or so looks her most accomplished effort since joining the house in 2002. "There were a lot of bows, which I embroidered or dusted in crêpe," Seward continued. "I worked with organza to make things lighter, like putting it under lace."

Azzaro used a vintage Azzaro necklace that belonged to her mother as a neckline motif in two separate dresses, an act that embodied Seward's exquisite means of merging new ideas with old traditions at this venerated house. On that note, gold and silver lamé brightened up a slim long-sleeved sheath dress with a delicately draped back. Her last two looks featured black dresses with lace back panels which were decorated with two crystal violin F holes, recalling the Man Ray photograph of Kiki de Montparnasse.

The presentation's soundtrack was especially compelling. "My husband [Bertrand Burgalat] is a French music producer, composer and singer," Seward said. "He always does the soundtrack for my presentation. He has a very singular style, so I got him to do a men's collection for Azzaro. Luckily, it's been getting a bit of buzz!"

Given that Azzaro has enjoyed red carpet action, with Anne Hathaway and Keri Russell sporting Seward's gowns over the last several months, the designer discussed plans to increase the brand's presence in the United States with the eventual goal of opening a freestanding boutique. "What I love about American women is that they dress up more, so it does make sense," she said. "Even more than French women, in a way." Seward plans to take a quick holiday before going back to work on the summer collection. "I'm going to the Pyrenees with my husband," she said. "It's the most remote place in the world."
ASHLEY BAKER




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