Tailors tend to breed talented offspring. Dries Van Noten, Domenico Dolce, Emmanuel Ungaro—they’re all cut from families of exacting cloth. Menswear designer Antonio Azzuolo is part of that club, having been raised by two in Montreal. After years in the business (15 in creative roles at Ralph Lauren, Hermès, Gap and Kenneth Cole, and six at the helm of his own bespoke line) he launched womenswear for Fall 2014, bringing old school tailoring techniques into new territory for next season. In his post-show Q&A with ROM curator Alexandra Palmer last night in Toronto, Azzuolo spoke of adaptation—something he’s clearly done in this collection. His full canvas method (all the handiwork goes on below the surface, allowing for the outside to maintain perfect shape) was applied to both men’s and women’s belted coats. Wool culottes were worn overtop loose-fitting trousers for understated statement making effect. Meanwhile, a sixties mod feel was woven through, with graphic alpaca sweaters done in magenta, maroon and white with unfinished hems which were layered over perfect white shirts.
Azzuolo also brought up the kind of buzzy dualities—masculine/feminine, past/future, tradition/novelty, structured/unstructured—often referenced in press releases. But while often they sound like fluff, here they felt earnest connectors to a strong first collection.