Joseph Altuzarra is plainly on a roll—a young designer reaching the top of his game, the current holder of the CFDA/Vogue title of Womenswear Designer of the Year, with TV ads for his Target collaboration (Eva Herzigová at her sexy best) airing all over America, and he’s about to be married to his boyfriend. All that dizzying recognition and personal bliss might act as a distraction for some creative people. Not this one. His spring collection was focused, realistic, sensitive, and, in its final passages, romantically beautiful in a way he’s never quite attempted before.
Netflix might also take some of the credit. The effects of staying home at night and watching films like Rosemary’s Baby and Barry Lyndon resulted in some of the makings of the collection—the sixties gingham checks at the opening, and the eighteenth-century florals at the end. But probably Altuzarra is reaching a stage in his career where his background seasonal research is far less relevant than the way he applies it. His customers have taught him that they like a narrow, sexily slit or unbuttoned skirt with a tailored blazer; it’s his signature.
Altuzarra also thinks about how a breezy shirtdress will look its best flying along the street—it has short sleeves, appears buttoned up to the neck, and has a cunningly slit hemline, in pale blue viscose check. His references to Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, which is set in eighteenth-century Ireland, ended up as some extraordinary pattern-cutting at the end of the show. Tissue-fine floral fabrics bore the traces of pannier dress patterns of that era, which in the original would have been worn supported by wooden frames. For Altuzarra, though, they were deflated and beautifully flowy, worn beneath precisely-cut black tuxedo jackets.\