ALTUZARRA AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR NEW YORK
Joseph Altuzarra’s new handbag collection got its debut on his runway tonight. A cash influx courtesy of Kering, which invested in his brand late in 2013, made the new range possible. The polished leather bags, in large saddle shapes with thick, elaborately braided and tasseled straps, look unlike anything else on the market right now. That’s no small feat. Take a gander the next time you’re on an accessories floor. There are leaders and followers, and not much in between. Altuzarra’s bags are a good metaphor for his business. From the start, he’s been a designer who has known who his woman is. She’s loaded, she’s a provocateur, she’s unafraid of a thigh-high slit.
As the collections pass, Altuzarra fine-tunes things. For Fall he ladled in more menswear tropes than in recent seasons. There was a lot of Prince of Wales check here. Beforehand he said he was thinking about 18th-century dandies and Truman Capote’s “swans” (Gloria Vanderbilt, Babe Paley, Slim Keith), the unifying factor being both parties’ predilections for dressing up. And so the coats on which he used that Prince of Wales check came with a deep flounce at the hem and were paired with delicate lace dresses. Or a jacket in the stuff that featured a generous fox collar (fox is absolutely everywhere this season) topped a baby pink pencil skirt boasting ruffled trim on the hip pockets and that signature Altuzarra slit.
It won’t be hard to find a neatly tailored coat or jacket from Altuzarra come fall—indeed, it’s no surprise to hear that outerwear is one of his best-selling categories—but this time around, it was the velvet dévoré dresses that really seduced. Cut in deep jewel shades of ruby and sapphire flecked with gold, their deep décolletages lined with fine white lace, they simultaneously channeled the 1970s and the 1890s without feeling encumbered by the past. They looked almost weightless.