Call it a power play. For fall, Joseph Altuzarra said goodbye to spring’s lavish, ornamented exotica in favor of a more hard-edge version of glamour. It made for a fabulous collection with sexy silhouettes sculpted close to the body and an abundance of black and white leather (real and fake) and statement-making patchworked fox fur.
“I wanted to go back to the idea of the street a bit more,” Altuzarra said during a preview. But don’t think he was talking urban, everyday dressing. Instead, the designer moved from the more eclectic streams of his last two collections (Berbers, Bollywood) into a particular city scenario. “In my mind,” he said, “it was this idea of an office lobby with women [coming and going] — sort of like a corporate uniform.” That must be one sexy office environment.
Altuzarra’s ultra-sharp construction — body-conscious dresses and suits under boleros with exaggerated rounded shoulders — made a statement of strength. So did the chic poly-leather corset dress with mink cap sleeves and the zippered leather ones with chiffon inserts exposing just the right amount of leg. The effect was at once strict and sexy, with an audacious power-woman vibe, which, while not at all retro, owed a debt to Montana at his height. At the same time, it felt like an impressive evolution of the designer’s fall 2010 Edward Scissorhands collection.
Leaving behind last season’s dazzling embellishments, Altuzarra here practiced a perfect sense of control, adorning several coats and dresses with the flattest of big metal buttons, and skirts and dresses with panels of studs. (Excess came via the fabulous, huge fox mittens.) He also played with padding in the hips of several constructed dresses. Some may think the new proportion could take some getting used to, but as he put it, the technique “gives you this super-flat stomach.” And, high-flying executive or not, what woman wouldn’t love that?