You have to hand it to Joseph Altuzarra, the designer is determined to walk an elegant path in a city, and country for that matter, that is devoted to its sportswear. This season that noble pursuit took him into a direction that was slightly more reserved then what the industry has come to expect from the designer. And that control served him well.
The collection started out strong with a group of timeless wide collar double-faced wrap coats in the shade of Yves Klein blue and navy, black and cream, and later in the show they returned in a fuchsia and gray alternative. Cinched tight to the waist they were a study in straight up sophistication. And if they end up being reversible- one can dream- then women would be fools to pass up on these evergreen winter winners.
But when the designer started to inject some arts and crafts elements into his show, even though this has become something of a hallmark for Altuzarra, the result was less convincing then in past collections. His bumpy textural tapestry tops and dresses skewed too far into experimental territory. And some split seam looks that saw the matte crepe surface of a form fitting dress come apart to reveal satin inserts, felt like they were trying too hard to be avant-garde.
Besides the strong outerwear - the designer showed a number of covetable white shearling jackets along side those fine wrap coats - it was in his inventive use of color in this collection that really showed potential. Fitted sheath dresses shot through with a sliver of orange or pink at the hem or waist line, which turned to reveal panels of those same hues in color blocks at the back, found a way to be both understated and eye catching at the same time.
“It is the first time that color is such a big part of the collection; it is a lot about joy, a lot about freedom, but also about finding a restraint within that freedom,” explained the designer in his show notes.
If that was Altuzarra’s goal with this collection, then he succeeded with flying colors.