Lady Autumn. Altuzarra AW23

Like Tory Burch, Joseph Altuzarra is having a great, creative streak for the last couple of seasons. His latest Altuzarra collection – especially its intro and outro – captures the feeling one loves about autumn. The warm colours of leaves in the park. Experimenting with layers of knits and outerwear. The first couple of looks, absolutely chic and beautiful, were about combining an evening coat (or soiree jacket) with a floor-sweeping, silk column skirt. All that covered in Altuzarra’s signature tie-dye. Somehow, the designer managed elevate the print from boho to lady-like. Then, we’ve got the knitwear, which was a gracious walk down the memory lane of Donna Karan’s dance-inspired, late 1990s style filled with flowing silhouettes and body-soothing forms. The over-sized beanies – a nod to this Yohji Yamamoto collection maybe – were a cool addition. There were some low points in this offering, like a set of serious-looking, dull evening dresses that gave nothing, but then Altuzarra served the dessert. Parka coats and bomber jackets in yellow and blue satin, fur-trimmed and embellished, styled again with maxi skirts. If you look back at the designers early collections, you remind yourself this was the look that made the brand so desirable in the first place. Good for Altuzarra to revisit that trick.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Magical Realism. Altuzarra SS23

I haven’t seen an Altuzarra show in a while, but I follow Joseph Altuzarra‘s side project, Altu, which is a genderless label offering timeless essentials in a cool, off-duty, gritty aesthetic. To sum it up, it’s quite the opposite of the ultra-feminine style of the designer’s main label. But it seems to me that developing Altu let Joseph take a new perspective at Altuzarra. The spring-summer 2023 line-up shows a more relaxed, laid-back approach, and I like it. Well, maybe the first part of the collection is too isnpired with last summer’s Prada silhouette, but the second section is truly eye-pleasing. “The world feels so alien and scary. I’ve been interested in how people in the past have made sense of things,” Altuzarra said at a preview. “Finding tangible reasons for why things are happening is what people would do, and that’s what I’ve been expressing through the collections.” For spring he said he wanted to explore “this idea of a trip and nature as an entry point for psychedelic experiences.” A couple of books, The Teachings of Don Juan and Desert Solitaire, both written in the late ’60s and both delving into mysticism, proved inspirational. The show played out like a journey – or maybe a vision quest – starting with preppy-ish classics like striped shirts, cable sweaters, and minis that Altuzarra tweaked and twisted until they looked neither preppy nor classic. He topped them with boxy blazers or parkas, and accessorized the looks with retro Keds sneakers. The shibori-dyed dress of look 19 is where woman meets nature. Tie-dye and coin embroidery are two Altuzarra signatures, and he doubled down here, sending out a parade of exquisite dresses whose intricate craftsmanship is near unrivaled in New York. Most ambitious was the series of body-skimming numbers that were first tie-dyed, then pleated and twisted; their patterns looked like exotic skins. Other dresses were sewn first, then dyed. “It’s all done on a final garment. You basically can’t mess up, because if you do, you have to redo the whole thing,” he said. They take almost two months to make.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Lady Romance. Altuzarra AW17


Joseph Altuzarra took a totally different path this season, leaving behind cherry sweetness of last summer. Looking at his autumn-winter 2017 collection, ‘heavy’ is the term that matches best, but not in the negative meaning of this word. In fact, everything was ‘heavy’ about the collection, from the atmosphere to the clothes. Delightful velvets in dark colour palette (except a few yellow ensembles); knee-length, lace-up boots; fur coats and jackets; richness of embroideries and embellishments. The styling of these preciously-looking clothes was made-to-measure for a woman, who loves Altuzarra‘s fashion – she’s both, romantic and sophisticated. As the designer said, his main aim was to build a dialogue between the past and today. However, the past felt more dominant in this conversation. Renaissance motifs were the main inspiration, for a reason.


Wise & Floral. Altuzarra Pre-Fall’17


Pre-fall 2017 season kicked off a week ago and the first collection, which caught my eye, comes straight from Joseph Altuzarra‘s studio. According to Altuzarra, next autumn won’t be a reason to forget blooming nature. Specifically, the Pre-Raphaelite take on nature appealed to the designer, who sent out a line of toned botanical dresses and flower embroidered knits. The silhouettes were flowy and loosely fit, unlike spring-summer 2017 Wild at Heart collection, which feautured sultry bras and pencil skirts printed with cherries and lemons. However, Altuzarra woman isn’t just into romantic flowers: she has an obsession with well-tailored jackets (in red, if possible), business-smart capes and all-knit looks. It’s a wise collection for autumn, after all. And if we’re speaking of autumn, then let’s note all those gorgeous knee-lenght boots. They look irrestible, whether in black or pale lilac.


Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Natural Curiosity. Altuzarra AW16


After minimal spring-summer 2016Joseph Altuzarra surprised everybody with his bohemian and much more risky autumn-winter outing. The designer openly confessed that he began imagining the new collection in his head after seeing the cult film Only Lovers Left Alive (to which I have referred while reviewing Rodarte’s last season and Haider Ackermann’s menswear) by Jim Jarmusch. The film, which had Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play romantic vampires, made Joseph think of their elusive and sometimes lethal curiosity. “They have very esoteric interests, and they live in a lush but isolated world. I wanted this show to be about trying different things not necessarily connected.” And indeed, Altuzarra is wildly mixing prints and textiles for the upcoming winter, which seems more than new for the brand. Paisley, leg-exposing skirts, embroidered red carpet gowns, tribal knits and bohemian dresses with oriental patterns feel bold and open-minded for different cultures.

For the Altuzarra fans, the signatures are here, too, but they were revamped with lovely embroideries and delicate floral applications – the femme-fatale silhouettes and tailoring is always on point in the designer’s collections, just like the nomadic outerwear. But what distinctly felt like a break-down from the super-sleek Altuzarra woman was the models’ hair – curls and afros looked natural and real. Note Alice Metza, Binx Walton and Imaan Hammam, please.