Before Joseph Altuzarra dimmed the lights and sent his first look down the catwalk, the fashion crowd was in a relaxed and festive mood. Maybe this had to do with the good food and drinks being enjoyed pre-show by fashion editors at the Italian restaurant Barbuto next door to the venue. Or perhaps it was simply the fact that it was the last show of a long and wet day that had everyone starting to unwind.
But all that changed as soon as the audience got its first glimpse of the Spring 2013 Altuzarra collection. There was a zing of electricity that shot through the room as wide-eyed journalists sat up to attention upon viewing the first exit: a high collared cape-like overcoat in a railroad-striped cotton (think OshKosh). Leaving the sleeves hanging empty, she instead coolly slipped her arms through side vents, tucking her hands into her front-pocketed pencil skirt.
Paired with a Swarovski crystal covered blue shirt and brown leather knee-high gladiator heels, the total look was utterly chic and yet still decidedly urban.
The first half of this collection will be remembered for the exquisite tailoring of Altuzarra’s jackets and outerwear. Besides the more roomy overcoats the designer used the same “arm vent” style on trench coats and jackets. More fitted and cropped jacket alternatives featured ruffles of a gathered peplum at the waist or curved in to create a sculpted hourglass shape.
What was interesting about these pieces was how the designer was able to transform a distinctly utilitarian fabric into something so sophisticated. Even the “hello my name is” name badge style Altuzarra chose for his brand’s logo had a certain workwear charm.
In his show notes Altuzarra revealed that the film Orlando inspired him. If the connection was hard to see in the daywear, the link was clearly there in the opulent eveningwear. The designer took the idea of a glamorous fringe scarf and worked it in a myriad of original ways. Gold metal fringe whipped along the hems of asymmetrical skirts, trimmed collars and climbed up high neck scarf dresses. Add to this the Swarovski crystal covered Bedouin blue pants (the designer did win the CFDA's Swarovski Award for womenswear after all) and gilded fan patterned embroidery on bustier dresses and it made for a lavish finish to this fine show.
Jessica Chastain, who was sitting front row, won’t need to look any further for her red carpet wardrobe this year.
- Jessica Michault