When Yigal Azrouël moved into his new boutique and studio on Grand Street in September 2023, he was still well within the geographic confines of his cool downtown clientele. But the Israeli designer found that his new spot in SoHo delved deeper into his source of inspiration. “It’s not intentional. It’s inspiring without even knowing it,” he said. “It’s in your brain.” Take the recurring oversized hook fasteners affixed to leather and denim jackets. “I see a lot of firefighters walking past the store, and it’s really fascinating,” he said, citing the NYFD jackets. Azrouël offered his own interpretation of the utility clasp, mixing silver hooks and rose gold eyes. “For me, it’s quite unexpected,” he added.
A surfer since the age of six, Azrouël's work is strongly linked to nature. He typically bases his clothes on organic shapes, but this season he approaches the natural world more literally, albeit on his terms. A meadow green cashmere and mohair balaclava echoed the headgear surfers use in winter, colloquially called “squid covers,” while wavy fil coupé on a Japanese denim bustier, jacket and pants recalled undulations water on a calm day. A major recurrence was the abstract floral pattern, a surprising use of pattern from a designer so devoted to minimalism. Inspired by a friend's photograph, Azrouël incorporated the pattern into a lightweight silk cowl neck dress, a grunge graphic tee, and even a metallic caped trench made with foil overdye on cotton and wool. Azrouël's love for the ocean permeates every aspect of his business. He is particularly concerned about the environmental impact of his work and is committed to using recycled furs and leathers. It also reduces waste by using a made-to-order model. “We don’t keep inventory on everything. Most of the products are made to order,” he said. “It’s much more sustainable because we do everything locally.”
With color-blocked leather jackets and dark, abstract metallics, a vague '80s and '90s influence hung over the collection. But Azrouël insisted he doesn't look beyond what's directly in front of him. “Honestly, I'm not someone who really follows trends. For me it’s about the street, what I see here,” he said. While perhaps a departure from his usual shades of gray and solids, Azrouël's latest collection nonetheless retained its DNA: the paper bag pants, body-conscious drapes, and knitwear of both masculine and feminine were all very present.