Altuzarra takes the myth out of parka dressing
Joseph Altuzarra loves a good book. Thanks to the reading practice his parents instilled in him, these tomes often influenced his collections. Thus, he shares them with his audience at his shows. His Fall/Winter 2023 collection, shown Tuesday night in New York, featured Charlotte Higgins's Greek Myths A New Retelling, signaled the show's mythology theme and marked the fourth and final series based on ritual and myth.
"My parents were big readers, and I've always loved reading. I was a pretty introverted, quiet child, and books were a place to escape. I feel that in the era of image over-stimulation, we live in, with TV, movies, and social media, reading is one of the last activities that forces you to use your imagination, which I find is a necessary exercise as a designer. It's also a fun and pleasurable activity," he said post-show in an interview.
Fortunately for his audience, that escapism translates into some breathtaking design work. With a collection that referenced a series of different prints mainly using the Shibori tie-dye technique, a staple for the label that stretched the imagination of the scope of possibility of the Japanese color technique. There were Rorschach tests, Shibori landscapes (a particular ombré muted rainbow on a trench and dress combo and sunset on a sleek knit dress were hard to resist), and floral and leaf patterns. How they were applied to a myriad of fabrics, including wool mohair styles and sheer textiles, was impressive.
The show opened with a parka look referencing the inkblot pattern, which would become a central theme of the show. Altuzarra glammed them up with rhinestone-encrusted toggle closures and large fur-trimmed hoods that served as a wrap. When these parkas got to the evening finale, they appeared embroidered on bright shiny satins (to match a coordinating skirt or dress) and tied and twisted at the shoulder, suggesting they be worn the way Marilyn Monroe wore a stole.
Among the rich prints was a visual reprieve devoid of pattern focused on details such as the draping. A set of soft jersey pieces draped, ruched, and twisted every which way made a case for chic, upscale T-shirt dressing. At the same time, a leather group examined the material as a soft, supple textile used for dresses, an emerging trend seen on several runways.
Throughout the show, Altuzarra explored sweeping floor-length skirts, often fishtailing, and Fifties and Sixties gown-worthy parka riffs that also grazed the carpet. Rest assured, though; the designer will offer shorter skirts and pants for days when his woman need to be grounded in reality. Whichever read the designer picks up next is anyone's guess, but it's a book club the smart chic will join.
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