Mr. Altuzarra


Cheers people, Joseph Altuzarra is the designer of the year, according to CFDA! Known for the ultra-feminine collections, I guess that’s a right choice. This talented New Yorker simply had to win. He collaborated with the NYC Ballet and now in September he will launch a collab with Target… and all the time Mr. Joseph keeps it in his own, characteristic style. So, lets all preview his best collections!


SS14 – Blouses also came in banker’s blue cotton or a patchworked indigo print. Cropped jackets were hand-embroidered in the style of Japanese boro fabrics. And trompe l’oeil dresses looked like thin-gauge sweaters worn over narrow silk skirts. Other designers make a fetish of fantasy. Altuzarra genuinely gets off on making clothes for real life. For him, it’s about the everyday, only elevated.


SS12 – Built-in parachute straps (a bit gimmicky, admittedly) accented the shoulders of sleeveless dresses, while track pants came with racing stripes down the sides. Tops that were one part baseball jersey, another part scuba suit suggested that this designer has absorbed the lessons of a certain influential Balenciaga show from the early aughts.


AW14 – Take the double-face navy cashmere wrap coat with generous cobalt blue shawl collar that opened the show. It was a model of timeless refinement, as it was in the bolder combination of pine green and fuchsia that came later. Altuzarra cut skirtsuits in the same lofty, unembellished double-face cashmere and finished them with such a fine attention to detail that they could’ve easily been worn inside out. That was an idea that particularly resonated with him. An understated gray sheath was constructed with horizontal slits at the waist that exposed bright orange and coral linings, “almost,” Altuzarra explained, “as if the back of the dress was being exposed.”


AW11 – “It started with the idea of not having to think so much about clothes,” the designer said backstage, and it’s true—this was a 180 from the daring cone-busted sheaths and hyper-precise tailoring of his last collection. “I wanted something longer and looser, something sensual and feminine, but utilitarian at the same time,” he said. The pictures that inspired him: old photos of Kate Moss wearing parkas over her evening dresses, in the days when her accessory of choice was Johnny Depp.


SS10 – Sensing it was time for a break with the 1980’s, which have been so popular lately among young designers, he went in a more 1970’s direction. Patchwork and “taking clothes apart” were his fixations for Spring, he said backstage. But we’re not talking about any old hippie-dippy patchworks. Altuzarra mixed expensive white eyelet and Swiss dot with brown suede and swatches of basket weave into fitted apron dresses that didn’t leave a lot to the imagination. He worked the same materials into jackets, vests, and pants that were more covered up but no less sexy.


AW12 – Altuzarra chose Corto Maltese, the protagonist of an adult French comic from the sixties and seventies, as his starting point. “He was a sailor, his mom was a gypsy, and his dad was Venetian.” That gave the designer a reason to really dig into military-influenced tailoring. Describing the fabulous fur peacoats, velvet blazers, and shearling toggle coats (gold-plated horn toggles, to be precise) would take up too much space here, but suffice it to say there were some real swashbucklers, and that for every jacket, there was an equally great-looking pair of corduroy flares or slim cargo pants peeking out from above thigh-high boots.


AW13 – “It forced me to be much more demanding about tailoring, cut, and fit,” Altuzarra said of his new ethos. Demanding is a good word for coat-dresses with tiny waists and padded-out hips, and super-constructed double-breasted power suits with shiny gunmetal buttons topped by cropped vinyl boleros. Vinyl was the surprise. He used it for shrunken motorcycle jackets worn solo or over the top of khaki trenches. Unlike leather, it’s rainproof, and so, says Joseph, it ages better. He also engineered it into hourglass dresses and tops with fur shoulders and sleeves. Leather, which has more stretch, proved the better material for other body-con dresses sliced below the hips with zippers from which were suspended sheer chiffon skirts.

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