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    Yigal Azrouel designs with the nude in mind

    WHO: Yigal Azrouel

    WHAT: The Israeli-American designer was in Boston to show his spring/summer 2012 collection at Saks Fifth Avenue. Azrouel, who shows both men’s and women’s collections at New York Fashion Week, says Boston is a particularly strong market for his eponymous collection, and in many ways his clothes are well suited for this city. ‘‘It’s weather that you can actually wear my clothes in,’’ he says. ‘‘We do a lot of business in Southern stores, but you definitely cannot wear the sweaters there, and I love designing for fall much more than summer. That’s why I love cities like this.’’

    Q. How much of the mood of the world do you absorb into your designs? There were a lot of neutrals in your spring-summer 2012 collection. Is that a reflection on how you feel?


    A. When I design the collection, I like the idea of something being more nude. But then I think about how I can capture nude without a woman actually being nude. So I use that nude color. It’s more about the woman than the state of things.

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    I do my own color. I have my own lab and there are a million shades of nude or red, or whatever. So I work on my own to get them just right. I love the combination of nude and color together. I think it’s very modern, very fresh. Think about any color with nude, and it works. There’s this idea that she’s wearing this beautiful suit, but she’s almost naked. But she’s not, she’s covered. So that was the idea behind that. Nude and red, I think is so chic.

    Q. I’m sensing you like the idea of a beautiful woman slightly exposed.

    A. But she’s not exposed. She’s sophisticated, but there’s something a bit more seductive. My woman is not someone who is in your face. She’s chic and elegant.

    Q. Your runway shows feel much less fussy than some others. Do you try to stay away from the showy aspects of fashion?


    A. I don’t like when women try hard. It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it. When you wear clothes and you’re confident about it, it’s great. I love the simplicity of that. Too much jewelry, too much makeup, it’s not attractive to me. I personally like things a bit more clean. It doesn’t mean that they cannot be layered, but I like more clean and simple.

    Q. So when you’re walking down the street, are you sometimes tempted to take a woman aside and scrub off her makeup and edit her jewelry?

    A. If somebody asks me about their look, I’ll tell them that it’s too much. I’m not shy about it.

    Q. Do you have any advice for women on how they can still feel beautiful if they rely on those adornments?

    A. Being pretty, being beautiful, being chic is about how confident you are. It doesn’t matter what you wear. Keep it very simple. Everyone says it, but less is really more. If you try too much, it shows. Just be yourself. That’s the key thing. You see two different girls wearing the same dress, and they look completely different. They bought it, it’s beautiful, but the confidence in the person really makes a difference for me. That’s how you’re going to look beautiful and expensive.


    Q. You started a lower-priced line last year called cut25. Was that decision primarily driven by the economy?

    ‘I think about how I can capture nude without a woman actually being nude. So I use that nude color. It’s more about the woman than the state of things.’

    A. It’s my contemporary line, and I really felt like there was something missing in the contemporary lines that are out there now. Another thought was that if I’m not going to do this, somebody else is. People are going to knock off my clothes, so why not knock off my own clothes with different fabrics or techniques and sell a line that’s my vision? It’s a collection that’s a bit younger and it’s a strong part of our business.

    Q. Your sweater is really fantastic, and I’ve seen it in your men’s collection. Are your men’s clothes essentially things that you want to wear?

    A. Absolutely. I always think about myself when I design. Of course there are the customers out there. But I wear the clothes, and I want my customer to wear the clothes. The whole idea behind both men’s and women’s is that you really shouldn’t have to try too hard. For me, my work is always chic and effortless.

    Christopher Muther can be reached at