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2009 October 1

Above and Beyond: Vanessa Seward

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Azzaro Spring 2010 Azzaro Spring 2010
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(PARIS) The Azzaro presentation is usually accompanied by sensory overload--the spring water and macarons, the divine soundtrack by Bertrand Burgalat, the mirrored second-floor space at the brand's flagship on rue Faubourg-St. Honore, the warm greetings of designer Vanessa Seward. This season, Seward looked to an unusual sort of inspiration for a typically gorgeous collection--her cat, Monsieur Jo, who was sketched by Seward's friend Florence Deygas of design firm Kuntzel+Deygas. Seward then incorporated the sketches into clothing by rendering them in crystal onto the fronts of frocks and the backs of a long, deep-V blouse. "Florence draws so well, and one afternoon, she came over to our house to study him," said Seward. "She watched him playing and scratching me, so we came up with the 'Jo-La-Terreur' dress, where the cat is attacking behind a curtain. We thought about bringing Jo here today, but he jumps over everything, and with the feathers...it could have been quite expensive."

But the Jo pieces are not Azzaro's only winners for Spring 2010. ("I don't think Jo knows we did a line after him, but I am sure he'd be pleased," Seward laughed.) Seward's unique take on gamine sexiness resulted in plenty to love, from a tiered gold fringe minidress to a white maribou feather coat (with matching dress underneath). An open-knit sheath in bronze with crystal neck detail shows how easily Seward can translate to day, while lucite wedge heels and bronze goddess headpieces were standouts on the accessories front. A loose-fit peach micropleat dress with beaded trim is destined for the consummate party girl--and come to think of it, why don't all those young lovelies sport these dresses religiously on the stateside social scene? Well, get ready. "We're opening a London shop in February--the brand is very supportive of retail," said Seward. "So next up will be a store in North America--you know, New York...we really have to find the right space." In fact, a boutique is just what Azzaro needs to translate the house's very unique offerings to a consumer base that is bound to be receptive of all these goods.
ASHLEY BAKER




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