Walking into the Azagury shop in Knightsbridge, London, on a beautiful sunny day, felt very special. After all, Jacques Azagury has dressed some of the most glamorous, elegant and stylish women in the world, from rock stars to royalty, most notably Diana, Princess of Wales, on many occasions. His spectacular creations obviously caught the eye of the Princess, and Jacques is credited with helping turn the Princess into the global fashion icon she became.
Meeting the legendary Azagury was an absolute delight, he is utterly charming, friendly and extremely humble given the status he has reached becoming one of the most distinguished couturiers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Jacques Azagury was born in Morocco, attended school in the UK and studied at the London College of Fashion and St Martin's School of Art. He stormed onto the fashion scene in the 1980's and opened his flagship store in Knightsbridge London in 1987.
As we walked round together looking at his exquisite creations, the photographs don't do enough justice to the truly beautiful lines he designs, I asked Jacques a few questions;
Q: When did you realise you wanted to be a fashion designer?
A: I have always wanted to be a designer since childhood. I have always liked style and clothes, choosing the way that I wanted to look from a very young age.
Q: What is the biggest change in the fashion industry you have seen or experienced since you started?
A: The biggest change in fashion since I started is the new found freedom of choice and the insta nature of the whole thing. When I first started there would be a theme to the season, a colour, a skirt length, but now it is really all bout chasing your own style and going with the designer that suits you best.
Q: You are without a doubt the fashion designer who transformed Diana, Princess of Wales into the fashion icon she became. Your unique style definitely defined her look. Could you tell me more about this amazing time with her.
A: I dressed Princess Diana for many years. First in 1987 when I was introduced to the princess by Anna Harvey from Vogue, while I was showing my New Romantics collection, up to 1997. It was always so thrilling and unreal every time I met her. I have the fondest memories of my time with the Princess. She was always so kind, thoughtful and very funny.
These are a selection of the dresses that Jacques made for the Princess.
Her favourite being the Black Chantilly Lace Dress Jacques made and presented to her as a gift for her 36th birthday.
Shown in each photograph, Jacques drawings and notes. He made the red dress below for the Princess to wear the to the Red Cross Ball Gala Dinner in Washington in 1997.
This Ice Blue Silk Georgette dress was for a performance of Swan Lake at The Royal Albert Hall in June 1997.
The Princess wore this to Ritz Hotel London to celebrate Sir James Goldsmith's election as a Euro MP
The Princess wore this Red Silk Georgette two piece tunic to Venice June 1995
The Princess first wore this in London 1995 and again in New York for the Cancer Research Ball.
The respect, love and admiration Jacques has for the Princess is evident in the way he speaks about her, obviously a very special and private time for both Jacques and the Princess.
Q: What role do you think social media plays in fashion industry today.
A: Social media has changed the whole industry as we knew it. The whole now thing and the huge demand for throwaway fashion is all a result of social media. I don't think it's a particularly healthy thing. But if feels that things are beginning to change and niche shopping and quality is on the way back.
Q: There must be so much pressure for designers to come out with amazing collections season after season. Where do you get your beautiful inspirations from.
A: My collections tend to be evolutions of the previous seasons. I think that my main inspirations come from new fabric and finding new ways of making garments. I always find that very exciting, that is where my modernity comes from mainly.
Dame Helen Mirren in Paris for the Pirelli Launch wearing a black velvet gown
Jacques has now started a magnificent collection of bridal dresses
His perfume collections come in beautifully crafted crystal bottles
Q: Lastly, tell me something about you, your interests, dreams, passions.
A: I love to travel. My big trips tend to be around Christmas time when I can afford to take a month off taking me all over from the Himalayas to the Indias, Philippines to swim with whale sharks and this year it was Bolivia which was spectacular.
I am very often to be found at a latest piece at the theatre and am a bit of a fitness freak. My passion is beauty which comes in may forms.
I'm so happy you loved Bolivia Jacques! not many people know it and its such an interesting beautiful country.
Jacques, many many thanks for your time in showing me around your fabulous atelier and the truly striking collections, I am in absolute awe! I love these crisp cotton shirts, so simple and stylish. Jacques designs have such clean, sexy lines. i simply had to have this!
Azagury is obviously defined by his haute couture designs, but there are many ready made, pret-a-porter gorgeous items incredibly priced too. For example these gorgeous pashminas are such good value with hand made embroidered appliqués £160.
Jacques, you undoubtedly have the magical gift of making women feel and look magnificent in your beautifully crafted creations. Each and every piece is so utterly exquisite. Once again Jacques, many thanks for taking the time to show me your inspirational creations.
The Azagury Shop is located at 50 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7JN
To make an appointment please Email: firstname.lastname@example.org