Joseph Altuzarra is just hot off his CFDA/VFF Award win a couple of months ago and just in case there was a soul out there that doubted the young French designer’s cred, this latest collection should be proof enough that it certainly was no fluke. Altuzarra has been riding an evergrowing high wave since his Marc Jacobs cum Perry Ellis grunge heyday riff from a year ago. Those parkas have quickly gained a cult status and a good number of pieces here have more than enough potential to cause an identical kind of stir.
A chic woman with an essentially Parisienne wardrobe alters her typically haute statement with pieces she picks up on her travels. That could be Indian Berber coins to embroider around a silk printed dress, or to encrust a pair of slouchy flared cargo trousers. Those medallions appeared everywhere, but they looked best on the hem of a white knee-length textured skirt that looked like thick cashmere, or a magic carpet repurposed for more realistic uses.
Altuzarra also looked to Corto Maltese, the dandy comic strip hero of Italian fame, for those maritime jackets that skewed toward a Victorian romanticism vibe, and highlighted to greater effects above pants bunched up above tasseled knee-high leather boots. And it is Altuzarra after all, and in his short time in the fashion mainstream he can already be counted on to appease with some show-stopping outerwear. The opening sleeveless shearling gold-plate toggle coat remained my personal favorite throughout. The knits, on the other hand, are a different story. Between the mirrored horse head sweater or the pattered knit tops that looked as if they were coming undone towards the bottom – there’s really no hierarchy there. The whole effort was as consistent as it was beautiful.
The caveat: It’s regrettable that this strong, valuable performance should resemble Balenciaga’s Fall ’07 ready-to-wear collection so distinctly. But when it comes down to it, that’s a bit inconsequential. Altuzarra has officially put the parkas to rest for a while now. The torch has been passed on. He has a new masterpiece to be proud of.