When Yigal Azrouël moved into his new Grand Street storefront and atelier in September 2023, he was still well within the geographical bounds of his cool, downtown clientele. But the Israeli designer has found that his new spot in SoHo has deepened his well of inspiration. “It’s not intentional. It’s inspiring without even knowing,” he said. “It’s in your brain.” Take the recurring oversized hook-and-eye closures, affixed to both leather and denim jackets. “I see a lot of firemen passing the store, and it really is fascinating,” he said, citing the NYFD’s jackets. Azrouël offered his own interpretation on the utilitarian clasp, mixing silver hooks and rose gold eyes. “For me it’s kind of unexpected,” he added.
A surfer since the age of six, Azrouël’s work has strong ties to nature. He usually grounds his clothes in organic shapes, but this season he approached the natural world more literally, albeit on his terms. A meadow green cashmere and mohair balaclava nodded to the head covers surfers use in winter, colloquially called “squid lids,” while the wavy fil coupé on a Japanese denim bustier, jacket, and pants recalled ripples in the water on a calm day. One major recurrence was the abstract flower motif—a surprising usage of pattern from a designer so dedicated to minimalism. Inspired by a friend’s photograph, Azrouël incorporated the pattern into a lightweight silk cowl neck dress, a grungy graphic tee, and even a metallic, caped trench made of an aluminum foil overdye over cotton-and-wool. Azrouël’s love of the ocean permeates all aspects of his business. He is particularly conscious about the environmental impact of his work and is committed to using recycled furs and leathers. He also cuts down on waste by employing a made-to-order model. “We don’t keep inventory on everything. Most of the stuff is made to order,” he said. “It’s much more sustainable because we do everything locally.”
With leather color blocked jackets and dark abstract metallics, a vague ’80s and ’90s influence hung over the collection. But Azrouël insisted that he isn’t looking anywhere beyond what’s directly in front of him. “Honestly, I’m not somebody who really follows the trends. For me, it’s about the street, it’s about what I see here,” he said. While it may have been a departure from his usual grayscale and solids, Azrouël’s latest collection still maintained his DNA: the paper bag pants, the body-conscious drapery, and the mesh of masculine and feminine were all very much present.