Altuzarra Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Joseph Altuzarra’s show moved fast. Kinetics is what seemed to be most at play. Working with a tropic Hawaiian print on white and black leather, it was a techno-fabric urban jungle explosion, but a calculated one. So much of what came down the Altuzarra runway hinted at speed. There was lots and lots of leather to go with the good dose of outerwear he presented, but equally as much in singular dresses. That specially treated, liquid leather looked like a dark quicksilver. The perforated leather on paneled dresses seemed geared to optimize the garment for velocity. Backpack dresses implied you better hold on tight. That same tropical/bird print came out on almost everything, winking at speed once again in a set of three very thin racing stripes down the side of a pair of pants and the kaleidoscopic effect the print would take, sometimes looked like nomenclature spectrums, or someone ready to walk through you at warp speed.

In a print-happy, pattern-happy, color-happy season thus far, Altuzarra’s efforts have proven to be the winning gambol. Flowers are everywhere at New York Fashion Week, but Altuzarra’s keen, uber-saturated approach makes everyone else’s look and feel moribund and soporific. Altuzarra has also taken the ubiquitous utilitarian/fetishistic combo that started off last season and has trickled on into this one, and made them part of the every day fashion vocabulary. How haute, yet sporty are those cummerbunds, some in all black leather, others with his jungle print, that clasp with a utilitarian buckle at the front. And what of that detail on the quilted leather jackets, parallel zippers racing up and down the lower backs? Lightweight nylon jackets were everywhere, but nothing was as brawny and fully wrought as his dusters, the best of those coming out sleeveless over racing pants and a printed top.

Altuzarra seems to be of the Marc Jacobs School of the Fashion 180. After last season’s parka et dress foray, which had all the ladies frothing at the mouth for a little grunge resurgence, it’s obvious that the young French-born designer is not playing around with that CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination, and is out to prove that this is already a serious business he’s running. After presenting this collection, it’s hard to imagine the CFDA/VFF bypassing his talents yet again for a whopping third time.