Self-taught designer Yigal Azrouël is credited for pioneering the retail scene in New York’s Meatpacking District. In 2010, he launched Cut25, an edited version of his eponymous line with a spotlight on accessibility. Azrouël will be departing his longtime neighborhood post and opening shop for his namesake on Madison Avenue next month.
When did you realize you had outgrown the Meatpacking District?
I started to find that my brand was really beginning to grow and develop, and that my customer was growing simultaneously with the brand, so moving uptown and relocating to where my customer is would be an ideal location for the boutique. I am excited to update our retail presence with a more modern and fresh appeal.
What was it like during the early years there? People often referenced women in heels pulling up in SUVs to shop and then leaving the neighborhood…
That is definitely true. It was the hip and cool place to be. I would almost use the word “underground” to describe the old vibe of the area.
Why did you choose the Upper East Side over SoHo?
I really love the neighborhood and feel like the customer on the Upper East Side is much more consistent and sophisticated and really embodies the true Yigal Azrouël woman. We have already received some warm welcomes from the neighbors!
With the opening of Cut25 on Grand Street, did you want to keep the lines apart intentionally?
Definitely. I really view the two brands as separate entities even though they do share some similar qualities. Cut25 really aims to offer designer quality and aesthetic at a more accessible price point. The Cut25 girl is a bit edgier; she is still educated on fashion and knowledgeable of the current fashion trends, but she is much more whimsical with her style choices than the woman who is wearing pieces from my ready-to-wear collection. The Yigal Azrouël woman is a bit more refined and sophisticated. Pieces from each collection can be worn together but the brands are meant to stand on their own.
Is it about downtown cool/uptown chic? Where do the two meet for you?
Both brands meet in the sense that I am a New York based designer, and New York will always be about the intersection of downtown cool and uptown chic. Both collections really embody a modern and confident wearer who is experimental with her fashion choices.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood in New York?
It’s so hard for me to choose a favorite, but I would have to say the West Village.
What do you love about it most? How do the women stand out there?
The area is really laid back, simple and everyone has a unique style.
Is it a matter of time before expanding and opening boutiques all around the world, perhaps reaching to parts of Europe that bring you back to your roots?
That’s definitely the plan.
After nearly 15 years, what keeps you going? Do you love designing more and more?
It’s in my DNA. I will never stop designing.