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Azzaro Releases Castello Branco

Godfrey Deeny
October 25th, 2012 @ 00:18 AM - Paris

By any standards, it was a very abrupt departure.

Azzaro has laid off its creative director Mathilde Castello Branco barely one year after hiring the Brazilian-born designer.

“The House of Azzaro and Mathilde Castello Branco are moving forward in different directions. 
Azzaro will shortly be announcing her successor,” the house in a notably terse press release issued Wednesday night, Oct. 24.

Castello Branco joined Azzaro from Lanvin, where she had worked alongside that house’s famed designer Alber Elbaz for the previous decade. Castello Branco succeeded Vanessa Seward, who was fired in March 2011, despite earnings kudos from fashion critics and winning a loyal red carpet following for Azzaro.
Seward, at least, managed to last nine years at Azzaro, Castello Branco managed just 13 months.

Her departure will raise questions about the future direction of the house, whose founder Loris Azzaro died back in 2003. Especially so, given the abrupt shift in aesthetics from Seward to Castello Branco. Where the former focused on Azzaro’s glossy sensuality, the latter was more noted for her feminine poise and far darker silhouette.

Following Azzaro's death, Seward was named Creative Director of the brand, going on to win such notable clients as actresses Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and Valerie Lemercier, along with socialites Eugenie Niarchos and Jemima Khan. By contrast, Castello Branco’s first designs for Azzaro, pre-fall 2012, garnered laudatory though not terribly enthusiastic reviews.

Azzaro, which was founded by in 1967 at 65 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in central Paris, still today its headquarters, built a worldwide reputation for racy femininity and French savoir-faire.

Since 2006, Azzaro has been owned by Reig Capital, a private equity firm based in Andorra, whose CEO Maria Reig is also president of the Paris-based fashion house.

When hiring Castello Branco, Reig bragged that she had “always admired Loris Azzaro's modernity and creations,” and was “impressed by Mathilde's career and personality. Since acquiring the brand in 2006, we have succeeded in ‘reviving’ it.”

Such bullish commentary by CEO Reig was notably absent from last night’s abrupt statement.

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Fashion Wire Daily: The Last Word in Fashion

* Vanessa Seward Out At Azzaro

* Azzaro Names Castello Branco Creative Director


* Versus Hires Jonathan Anderson

* Cacharel Unveils New CEO, in Major Corporate Revamp


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