Joseph Altuzarra was in a state on the afternoon of September 5. With 48 hours to go before his spring runway show, the designer was exhibiting all the symptoms of typical exhaustion, compounded by the fact that he had just signed a life-altering deal with Kering, the luxury conglomerate formerly known as PPR. Dazed and a little confused—but excited!—Altuzarra could barely remember who had pursued whom in the high-stakes courtship that resulted in Kering taking a minority stake, estimated at 40 percent, in his label. “I swear I’m not being coy about it,” he said at the time. “I literally don’t remember.” (Kering approached him.)
Five weeks later, with ample time to digest the events of the season, Altuzarra is the picture of serenity and self-possession in his Howard Street studio. His collection was a knockout, one of the most memorable shows of the season, let alone on the New York schedule, not for its flashy theatrics—he prefers a minimal set—but the cool confidence of the clothes, which were inspired by the Japanese patchwork technique of Boro and Altuzarra’s now-signature French-American sophistication. By early October, the perks of his new membership in the Kering club had begun to take effect, with the investment dollars being put back into new hires, homing in on production and logistics.
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