A.A. Collection finds Beauty in The Basics
Antonio Azzuolo’s a.a. collection achieves something in menswear much loftier than a trend. With trousers and blazers marked with scrutiny and care over every inch, a.a. achieves an understated essence, yet retains an uncompromised maximum of potential.
From his tiny, but incredibly well-organized home studio in downtown Manhattan, Azzuolo says the body type and silhouette are not mainstream, although his sizes normally run from 36 to 46. The silhouette is marked as shorter than the traditional male model, but still lean, broad, and strong. His modus operandi for the collection is to be passionate about traditional materials, yet humbled by experience.
Prior to launching a.a. in the states for F/W ’09, Azzuolo worked for Hermès and Ralph Lauren Black Label and Purple Label, respectively. His signature, as he describes it, is to translate a mature feeling that is luxurious rather than self-indulgent, with a design language voiced through lines and color.
With repurposed fur, double breasted jackets, fine knits, shorts, tuxedos and select outerwear, a.a. covers a lot of territory in a tightly edited collection that mixes French, Canadian, Italian and American traditions into something useful. He calls the aspiration, “not generic or just about fitting in.” Azzuolo also sites a range of influences including Martin Margiela, Gianfranco Ferre, Emmanuel Ungaro, Dries Van Noten and Claude Montana.
For S/S ’10, a.a. offers a few sleeveless numbers and a strong color story built around cobalt blue, red, white and black. A classic rock aesthetic also seems to permeate the collection: a single silver belt loop nods to David Bowie, and vintage Rolling Stones inform the style sensibility.
The a.a. collection verges on bespoke, but aspires to be an exquisite readymade collection, possibly somewhere bet-ween Tom Ford and Duckie Brown. Add Michael Bastian, Thom Browne, Band of Outsiders, Spurr and so many others, and tailored suiting is still hyper competitive. Oddly, the buzz level is almost pre-famous Rodarte, focused on craft; with retailers struggling to catch up.
- Michael Cohen