AZ Factory with Cyril Bourez
INTRODUCING AZ FACTORY WITH CYRIL BOUREZ PRODUCT STORY:
CHAPTER 1 – AZ 2.0: WELCOMING OUR AMIGOS INTO THE FACTORY
Launched in 2021 by the late Alber Elbaz, AZ Factory believes in smart fashion that cares. Today, the label has evolved this belief into a collaborative ecosystem, a laboratory where people meet to try new things, where creativity is nurtured, and emotion and experimentation are encouraged. Earlier this year, we opened a new chapter, a natural evolution holding Alber’s values at its core. Now, we invite our Amigos – talents, partners, collaborators – to join us in advancing his original vision and spirit, to design beautiful, fun and solutions-driven fashion alongside our design studio and in-house teams.
Now, AZ Factory welcomes Amigos, guest creatives, to co-create stories and products. We provide them with a platform to develop and share their visions of what fashion means today and to them, by appropriating and reinterpreting the codes that have made AZ Factory unique from day one. With this new approach, AZ Factory offers a new perspective on today’s fashion, driven by the perspectives of uniquely positioned individuals, rather than heritage houses exclusively.
Following the announcement of our inaugural collaboration with Thebe Magugu in April, we are thrilled to share that Cyril Bourez is the next Amigo to step into the Factory for our upcoming product story.
CHAPTER 2 – MEET CYRIL BOUREZ
Born in northern France, close to Belgium where he is from – and where he subsequently studied and then taught at La Cambre – Cyril identified an early attraction to the reality of creating, the practical “doing” over the theory. As a student, he interned at some of the labels he’d long looked up to, initially gaining experience at Jacquemus, Paco Rabanne, Acne Studios and Y/Project, then specializing in menswear, first at Lanvin, then with Raf Simons in Antwerp.
Though formally trained in menswear, Cyril’s perception of what garments are intended for is free-flowing and malleable, with a sensibility to masculinity which he self-describes as more of a mood than a category, with a focus within his own eponymous label on re-interpretation and exploration of masculine codes. He describes his award-winning 2017 graduate collection as a tribute to the iconic pieces that originally made him dream of making fashion, which he reinterpreted by using the garments he used to wear as a teenager. As with all his work today, he describes his creative process as anchored in “auto-fictional research”, starting with a personal feeling or relationship to a situation, person or garment, which he then translates into something shareable.
In a similar way, with this project Cyril was interested in leveraging his menswear training to offer a new vision of what women’s clothing could mean, by applying this “auto-fiction” approach to Alber’s creative legacy, paying tribute to his work in a playful and irreverent way.
CHAPTER 3 – THE PRODUCT STORY
The original concept involved collecting variations on the archetypal “boyfriend t-shirt”, and elevating them into couture pieces (traditionally made for women), transforming a stereotypically masculine and slightly cliché garment into avant-garde and playful silhouettes. The project began to take shape around a rework of iconic silhouettes blended with Alber’s irreverent approach to fashion, the juxtaposition of basic, boyish garments and high fashion. The collaboration also drew from AZ Factory’s own vision of athletic couture, a term Cyril played with by selecting sporty, varsity-themed garments that he reworked with AZ Factory’s existing couture elements, including opulent fabrics and exaggerated details like oversized ruffles. As a result, the strong sense of versatility and duality in the collection is reminiscent of both brands’ design aesthetics and value systems.
Cyril’s signature is functional and pragmatic in nature, and he typically shies away from embellishments or “function-less” decorative detailing. As such, this product story and the resulting pieces are quite a departure from his usual work. Every piece is unique, and spontaneously made – there were no patterns, and the construction feels more organic as a result. Here, Cyril knew that plans wouldn’t necessarily translate into reality, and so the design process was more natural and free-flowing. He describes this project as having allowed him to extract only “the fun part” of creating, without the frustrating, industrial constraints. “It’s still technical”, he says, “but not industrial. It’s just craft.”
It felt important, given the wider industry and environmental context, to make a statement by producing the full collection with existing garments, without bringing anything new into the project. In order for this to work, Cyril zeroed in on fashion archetypes, as a way to strengthen and clarify the message. The final pieces feel to him like what a girl might steal from her older brother’s wardrobe, pieces that feel cool, cheeky and comforting. He views the pieces like a sort of fashion equivalent of a collage, something a little silly and handmade, but compelling and interesting.
The product story comprises 33 unique garments, featuring vintage and thrifted t-shirts and Hawaiian shirts, and will be available from June 7th 2022, online exclusively at azfactory.com and then at the AZ Factory Pop-up Store, 16 rue des Minimes - 75003 Paris, from June 21st to July 8th, 2022.
These pieces were reinvented using leftover AZ Factory fabrics and deadstock, as part of our wider Reworked project, an initiative which aims to give a second life to garments no longer in use.
Shop the Collection now