Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
HomeFashionWhy Joseph Altuzarra is choosing not to participate in the fashion circus

Why Joseph Altuzarra is choosing not to participate in the fashion circus


“There’s something obscene about the way the industry looks now,” said Joseph Altuzarra, referring to the celebrity circus that surrounds the fashion shows of today’s big luxury brands. “I feel like I’m opting out.”

For the 15th anniversary New York Fashion Week show taking place Sunday at his studio, the designer will return to something simple and exclusive, with 70 people who have been a part of his life and career from day one.

He remembers well his first exhibition, in February 2009 in a small art gallery, which he got for free in exchange for giving clothes to the gallery staff. “I remember going to the ATM and taking out $650 to pay for hair and makeup,” she said during an early morning visit to her studio this week. “My mom was baking cookies, we had a stereo in the apartment, and I literally pressed play when the show started.”

Altuzarra autumn 2009

Jimi Celeste

The ingredients of his brand were there from the beginning: sensuality and craftsmanship, which at times has had a bohemian tinge. In the fall of 2012, he established his vision for tailoring, showing slit skirts that became a signature and pea coats that customers still come to him for today.

The first of many, many shirt dresses, flirty in blue plaid, walked the runway for spring 2015, a sexy style that was both editorial and pragmatic.

Why Joseph Altuzarra is choosing not to participate in the fashion circus

Altuzarra spring 2016

Giovanni Giannoni

And in spring 2016, a green tie-dye shirt dress was such a commercial success that it set a template for a dress of the season, as well as debuting shibori dye as a recurring motif in the collection.

After moving to Paris for four years, when his clothes took a more frou frou turn, Altuzarra returned to New York in 2021 and is now more confident than ever in what he represents.

Why Joseph Altuzarra is choosing not to participate in the fashion circus

Altuzarra autumn 2012

Giovanni Giannoni

Last year it opened its second store after the New York flagship in Palm Beach, Florida. It has gone from a wholesale wholesale model to 50/50 wholesale in dtc, and the business is growing 30 percent year over year.

“This is the biggest year in our history and the exciting thing is that the product is really resonating. I think we really understand (better) who our customer is and that has changed the way I design. It used to be that the end of my creative process was the show. And now, at the end of it all, the clothes are worn by the customer.”

This has resulted in less theme-driven collections. “For fall, I was really interested in this collection because of the idea of ​​things feeling a lot more collected over time,” he said during a preview. “I don’t think people will go to a store and buy a story now. “They are buying the great item, the Celine jacket and the great Phoebe Philo pants and the great Saint Laurent jacket and picking and choosing.”

Altuzarra Pre-Fall 2018

Altuzarra pre-fall 2018

Photo courtesy

Previously, if she had designed a black-and-white Harlequin hero dress like the one in her fall collection, it probably would have been part of a story with a pleated skirt and a button-down sweater version—a heavily commercialized offering. he said.

“Instead, there is a single item that lives completely independently from the rest of the collection, which was definitely a new challenge. Retailers have already bought the collection and we weren’t quite sure how they were going to react to this. And I think they really loved it. It’s much more like they are purchasing items.”

It’s an approach that many other designers have leaned toward in recent seasons, from Alessandro Michele when he was at Gucci to Tory Burch.

Backstage at Altuzarra RTW Spring 2019

Backstage of Altuzarra spring 2019

Delphine Achard/World Water Day

The general idea for fall 2024 is to “look dressed,” he said, drawing inspiration from equestrian clothing (Altuzarra rides horses competitively in the Hamptons), the glamor of Tamara de Lempicka portraits and Princess Diana.

Add to this an interest in theater and acting, the designer said, naming Rudolf Nureyev, a personal hero since Altuzarra seriously thought about pursuing professional ballet as a career while studying in Paris.

The dress of the season is a sleeveless scarf print style with an abstract equestrian brushstroke inspired by vintage scarves found in Paris. Double-sided cashmere trench coats; jackets; exuberant tailoring; bias-cut silk dresses and shell tops in different shades of ivory; harlequin caps; Burlesque-style dresses with jet beading and tuxedo shirts complete the offering. And in the realm of the wonderfully strange are the bold metal horse-shaped bracelets, inspired by Altuzarra’s children’s teething toy.

“I would love for us to have a Dries (Van Noten) business in 15 years. I think that’s kind of the trajectory. And what makes Altuzarra special (and obviously, I’m biased, but I think it’s also made us stand out from our peers) is that we’ve always sold clothes to real people. I was never a brand or a person who looked for the good; I just don’t know if that’s my personality. I don’t really care about being cool.

Altuzarra RTW Spring 2022

Altuzarra spring 2022

George Chinsee for World Water Day

“Our strength really is in clothing manufacturing, which has anchored our business, and I think there is enormous growth potential in that. And what’s been interesting about doing things like the collaboration with West Elm, and we have more projects coming up, is that there is a real resonance of the brand within my community,” he said.

After New York and Palm Beach, Los Angeles is the next market in which you are looking for a store. He has also had success doing trunk shows in second cities, such as Charlotte, North Carolina and St. Louis. “Women are very hungry for fashion.”

While Altuzarra had a minority investment from Kering in 2013, they amicably parted ways in 2020 and the brand has been self-funded since then. “I still talk to them, they help me almost like these father figures,” he said. “So I have very good experience working with groups. And it’s definitely something I’m open to doing again.”



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