To say that Joseph Altuzarra has had a good week would be an understatement. On Thursday, the designer joined Kering’s luxury portfolio, a move that should set him up to international exposure and further grow his label. On Saturday night, the designer built on the big news with a spring collection that could best be described as simply beautiful.
A study in tony chic, Altuzarra took elements of past collections — exquisite draping, ethnic touches and plays on men’s wear — and pulled them together with confidence and panache.
Boro, the Japanese technique used by fishermen and farmers to patch together rags and everyday garments, provided the starting point. Backstage before the show, Altuzarra explained that the theme evolved into “this idea of effortless ease of a shirt and a skirt, bits of patchworking, soft layering and handwork that’s done in a humble way.”
He had no reason to be humble. Altuzarra deconstructed men’s shirts with a fresh eye, tucking some into draped, elongated skirts. The effect was casual with a studied imperfection. The same could be said of the loose strings that dangled from many of the skirts. Rather than disheveled, the detail looked interesting and added to the collection’s Parisian sophistication and sensuality. Surface elements were also executed with graceful control: An elegant trompe l’oeil navy dress that looked like a knit top layered over a long skirt had just the right amount of embroidery and delicate jewel adornment.
The collection will easily translate into chic adult wardrobes. It was mature in the most positive sense of the word, right down to the last few exits of terrific draped-and-tied dresses in a shimmering metal silk thread. They were glamorous, but in a quieter, less formal way, and like the rest of the clothes, demonstrated Altuzarra’s confidence and knowledge of desire in fashion.