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2012 November 19

Catching Up With Vanessa Seward

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Vanessa Seward and Jean Touitou Vanessa Seward and Jean Touitou
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(NEW YORK) As the well-loved creative director of Azzaro from 2002 to 2011, French designer Vanessa Seward transitioned the storied French maison into a celebrity and chicster go-to for red carpet dressing with both whimsy and edge. This Fall, Seward debuted her official foray into ready-to-wear for the masses with a capsule collection for A.P.C., full of the gamine silhouettes and signature prints that delighted her fanbase while also cultivating a new crowd of aficionados. The Daily caught up with Seward last week at the Mercer Hotel during a trip to New York for A.P.C.'s 25th anniversary bash. BY ASHLEY BAKER

What facilitated the collab with A.P.C.?
I was friends with Jean [Touitou, A.P.C.'s founder] when I was at Azzarro, and I've been an A.P.C. client for nearly 25 years. The brand seemed to like what I did at Azzarro, and when I left, they invited me to do a small collection. It was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do. It started with the Fall 2012 collection, and then we decided to do another one, and another...

What else are you working on?
I also created a collection for Atelier Swarovski for Spring/Summer 2013, and I've been working on film costumes for a French actress, Valerie Lemercier. Her new project, Hand in Hand, is coming out in December.

How did you transition from the mostly evening looks you created for Azzaro to more street-friendly fare?
The A.P.C. collection feels more real, and designing these sorts of clothes may be more of the real me. I still used couture fabrics, but I wanted the pieces to look very A.P.C.—the shapes are quite simple, with a feminine touch. I'm very into waists and smaller shoulders.

How did you develop the prints?
They came from the Abraham archives—Abraham used to be kind of the official fabric supplier for Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and all the couture houses in the sixties and seventies.

How's your daughter, Jacqueline?
She's great! She's two and a half now, and she's really fun. Sometimes, I get inspired by children's clothes—everything's an inspiration,

And your cat, Monsieur Jo?
A little fat, but he's fine.

How are you spending your free time in NYC?
Shopping! For me, stores like Urban Outfitters are very exotic and fun—I love their selection of books and gadgets. Jean took me to Lululemon, which is very exotic for Parisians. I found some gifts there for my husband [music producer Bertrand Burgalat].

What's the most interesting lesson you've learned at A.P.C.?
I've learned a lot about jeans! Denim was very difficult to do at a couture house. It's been very interesting to work with Jean on the technology—the stitching is important, but so is everything!

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