Jacques Azagury was born in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1958. He was educated in England, but left school early to work in a clothing factory. He then spent two years at the London College of Fashion and one year at St. Martin’s School of Art, London. Harpers and Queen magazine featured his 1978 dipoloma graduation collection and orders for his garments soon followed. Browns, the famous store bought many of the garments in his collection. His knitted three-piece outfit, a strapless tube worn with a long pleated skirt and a long sleeveless coat with a draped back, was a great success. Azagury began his own retail operation in London’s Knightsbridge, London in 1987. As well as specializing in exclusive cocktail and special occasion wear for private clients, he also sells pieces to other fashion stores and top couture retailers throughout the UK. The operation is as chic as any Parisian couture salon and was complemented by Azagury’s sister, Elizabeth, and her exclusive floristry business, Azagury Fleurs, which is run from the basement of the shop. His brother’s shoe design label, Joseph Azagury, is run from premises nearby. He specializes in glamorous evening clothes for an international market. His clothes were great favourites with Diana, Princess of Wales. His first dress for her was a 20’s style ballgown worn in the mid 80’s. In 2002, the very experienced Azagury was selected to head a team taking over the designing of the couture collection of the house of Hardy Amies, at Savile Row, London. The old house was to be completely revamped for the 2 1st century. However after only a few months, the team was disbanded and Ian Gallant (the personal choice of Hardy Amies) took over the design. He went on to design some of her most daring and sexy dresses, during the last few years of her life. One was a black dress on an embroidered sequin bodice, worn when she received an humanitarian award from Henry Kissinger in New York in 1995.
His glamorous style was perhaps best epitomized by the princess in the summer of 1994 when she walked out of the Ritz Hotel in London, to be met by the glare of the awaiting paparazzi, in a stunning Azagury black, graphite, and bugle bead sheath with sensuous side split.
Azagury does not design for one particular type of woman, preferring to appeal to a huge cross-section from the ages of 13 to 60. He is adamant that what a woman does not want when purchasing eveningwear is fancy dress. Some eveningwear designers layer sequins, frills, ruching, and draping to create an overstated, unflattering fantasy, but Azagury uses sequins and frills with taste and discretion. The clothes never make major fashion statements but veer instead toward the classic and flattering. Their innovation and style come from Azagury’s respect for cut and fit, and he devotes a great deal of time to getting this right. Princess Diana, Duchess of Kent, Joan Collins, Madonna, Emma Thompson, Elizabeth Taylor, Demi Moore, and Britain’ First Lady, Cherie Blair
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