ALTRUZARRA |Self-Made Confidence

Joseph Altuzarra is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear clothing designer. He launched his brand, Altuzarra, in New York in 2008. His brand is influenced by his multicultural upbringing and his international education in fashion. Born in 1983 in Paris, Altuzarra was raised by a Chinese-American mother and a French Basque father. As a boy he studied ballet for eight years.  Joseph graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Art and Art History. Upon heading to New York, he interned at Marc Jacobs before his post at Proenza Schouler. Seeking to further enhance his technical construction skills, Joseph then apprenticed with patternmaker Nicolas Caïto, the former head of the Rochas atelier. Joseph later returned to Paris, working as first assistant to Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci.

Altuzarra was awarded the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear Design in 2012 and the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2011. His other awards include: Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40, Fashion Group International Rising Star of the Year,  Out100 Vanguard of the Year, Ecco Domani Award and Forbes 30 Under 30. In 2014, he was awarded the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.

He may have made his name by developing a strict and sexy silhouette for the urban-savvy swan—the one with the big job and the budget to afford it (and why not? In this health-conscious era of personal training and medical advances on subtle time-defying upkeep, the idea of “ageless dressing” has never felt more relevant)—but it was Truman Capote’s version, specifically eighteenth-century dandies, and the “Gloria Vanderbilt era,” that he had in mind for his fall 2015 collection. “A lot of it was about taking pleasure in dressing up,” the designer said at a preview yesterday, and fans needn’t fret—those trademark slit skirts are still here, only now with fluted hems for a key bit of flounce, and so, too is that oft-cited gypsy-like romanticism, in weightless flowing velvet devoré and gold-paillette embroidered silks inspired by the pattern of a Tibetan carpet.

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White lace ran through the collection in a thicker lacquered take and a thinner chantilly, here cleverly layered for a deep V-shaped seam that subtly mimicked the neckline of a cricket sweater, there in a dreamy frilled frock. Wide, regal fox collars adorned wool crepe and wool jacquard coats with those same fluted hems; a Prince of Wales check topper in warm, autumnal tones and honey caramel–colored fox was something that would put a back-to-school skip in anyone’s step, come fall. (And the perhaps less practical—but where’s the fun in practical, if you can afford not to be?—pale pink and icy blue fox fur clouds of coats that could have been candy-coated, for the reaction they inspired in showgoers. But it was the final series of evening looks—those slinky burnished navy and burgundy velvets and silks, some topped with high patrician lace collars (and there is a perennial allure to white lace that can’t be ignored, and in the case of the designer’s frilled socks and knee-high boots in the fabric, won’t be), some bare to the sternum, that truly raised the collective pulse.

Altuzarra has been working with a new art director—Thomas Lenthal, the publisher of Paradis magazine and cofounder of System—on developing his house codas and thinking brand first, what he called “a lot of little things coming through,” and here that translated into new, maritime-inspired A-emblazoned buttons on a shearling collared peacoat and a brand new line of bull-whip accented bags (shown on the runway in hobo and saddle shapes, as well as a Dupont lighter–inspired clutch). “It’s nice when you reach a certain point where people start to understand what you’re about so you can sort of break out of it and take it somewhere else,” the designer said, and with each passing season it’s become increasingly apparent that wherever he leads, he will find no lack of followers anytime soon. (some excerpts taken from article by Alessandra Codinah)


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