Pragmatic, reality-based clothes that are also interesting and beautiful — Joseph Altuzarra’s pre-fall collection checked all the boxes of a pre-collection dream. It was packed with newness, to boot.
Romance drove his primary decorative effects and silhouettes — pre-Raphaelite botanicals, Victorian hourglass shapes and softened tailoring — yet as Altuzarra broke down the logistics behind his designs during a small presentation, he made clear that practicality and functionality were at the collection’s core, without outshining the fashion. “A very large part of our customer base works and needs suits for work,” said the designer. “We’ve seen a huge uptick in interest in our tailoring in general, but also a desire for new shapes and things that feel more fashionable with a capital F.”
Another “F word” the client desires: femininity. A red jacket was cut with Altuzarra’s signature sharp shoulder and nipped waist, but with a more fluid touch to the fabric and sleeves that had a drawstring detail at the cuff, creating a slight bell effect. Matching pants were cropped with a gentle flare. Another alluring example of feminized tailoring and something that felt quite fresh for Altuzarra was a Victorian-inspired jacket with a curved shoulder, cinched waist and exposed zipper. Also in the interest of serving his working women, he resized top-handle handbags to fit iPads and small computers.
The strong sense of seduction that’s a cornerstone of Altuzarra’s work shifted to flirtation with swishy godet skirts, bell sleeves and the pre-Raphaelite florals, pretty in a rich, naturalist way on printed dresses and gowns embellished with vine and bud embroideries done in pastels mixed with black for a bite. Loaded with paillettes, the eveningwear was a fantastic fashion statement but not without a dose of common sense. Altuzarra noted that pre-fall ships during summer — high wedding season — a market he wants to serve with elaborate eveningwear, some of it at a more approachable entry price than that of his runway collections.