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Azature, or the "Black Diamond King," is of a rare breed that was actually born and raised in Hollywood. After attending UCLA with the plan to go on to law school, the designer applied to Parsons "on a whim," packed his bags, and headed to New York to study fashion design. After returning to LA and working for a loungewear company, regret started to creep in. It was a chance conversation, and push from his uncle to start a jewelry company, that led Azature to where he is now.
The designer's business began with a Google search of the words "black precious stones." Black has always inspired him because his mother and grandmother, who are the strongest influences in his life, were always dressed with poise and elegance in the shade. "For me, the color black was always a very important part of my life," Azature explained. "Even at Parsons I hated designing in any other color."
He recently created a black diamond nail polish and has been the buzz of Hollywood since Kelly Osbourne wore his "$250,000 manicure" to this year's Emmys. Her bottle was one-of-a-kind and contained 257 karats of black diamonds; everyone else will be able to get a piece of the designer with a $25 version sold at Fred Segal. We sat down with Azature and talked superheroes, dressing up, and all things black.—Catherine Wright
What are you drinking today?
"I am drinking the Citrus Cleanse at Earth Bar."
What is your favorite fashion era?
"I think the '70s because to me it was the time where you would wear your most elegant and refined clothing and go to a nightclub. I don't believe in casual. I believe in being dressed up every day, all day. Night or day, there shouldn't be a difference. I like the '70s, I feel like my heart and soul are still there."
If you could have dinner with one fashion influencer who would it be?
"Gianni Versace. I've always really related to him in a design sense because he believed in the beauty of women, so his clothing was always very powerful and that's really what I'm about with my fine jewelry. It is really about bringing out the beauty of women because they inspire me. I think we would have had a great relationship, granted he's all about color and I'm all about black."
Describe your perfect vacation.
"Complete isolation. Probably on an island that doesn't have cell phone reception because I can't seem to let go of emails and phone calls. I think that progressively as I continue to grow with my company, the phone becomes an extension of me and I sometimes have a problem with that. So it would be nice to disappear for a couple of days."
And now, for the speed round:
East LA or West LA?
Name your favorite song.
"Lady in Red."
What has been your career highlight?
"I think overall my career to me is a highlight all together. Just to be able to do what I do. I feel so humbled to be able to pursue my passion and for it to come full circle. Everyday is a highlight if I can do what I love and put smiles on people's faces."
What is a typical night out with your friends?
"I enjoy dancing. In a nightclub, people really let go and they become their true selves because the lights are out. They always put on their best outfit and their best hair and the best of everything and I just believe in a world like that."
If you weren't designing what would you be doing?
"I can't imagine doing anything else but I might have been a corporate attorney because that was definitely the route I was headed down. Or a politician."
What's your guiltiest pleasure?
"This is really bad. It's the coffee, fudge and almond Coldstone ice cream with Heath Bar. It's all black."
Who's your favorite superhero?
"Batman; or a cross between Batman and James Bond. Batman because of his elaborateness and drama effect. 007 for his chic and understated elegance. Both of them together would be my perfect superhero."
If you could live anywhere besides LA where would you live?
"The Middle East. I like the element of elegance of the customs. I feel like it's one of those places in the world that still holds a lot of tradition so it would be amazing to be able to live somewhere with the traditions intact. I've been so used to a modern and progressive lifestyle. They're modern but at the same time they have tradition so it's the perfect balance."
The answer to this is probably obvious but, black or white?
· Azature [Official Site]
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