In a critique of the shows from a few days ago, Leandra Medine’s sharp lens picked up on something quite fascinating. “For the spring season, I love it all, but in the winter, I wonder what we’re doing—why we’re even here,” wrote Medine. This couldn’t be closer to the truth. I noticed it too, across most fashion writers’ reportage, and even my own. This sinking feeling struck us in February when temperatures in New York plunged to -15 degrees Celsius; cutting winds attacked in London; and the rain made its way to Milan and Paris. Meanwhile this season the temperatures (in New York) have been pleasantly surprising; a welcome array of high 20s. It’s no surprise that a sunny disposition has rubbed off on many of the New York designers, many of whom wanted us to focus on positivity and relaxation with their collections.
Joseph Altuzarra is one of those designers with good intentions. “I wanted it to feel happy for other people,” he shared to Vogue Runway post-show. It certainly was a happy affair. Making things fun for the shopper and the viewer, the show featured a melange of gingham, pinup dresses, snakeskin and fruit prints. His usual flintiness was stepped up a notch with most looks capturing the spirit of a naughty vixen cruising the streets of Brazil.
The starting point this season was David Lynch’s 1990 film Wild at Heart, starring Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage. Similar to last season’s ode to Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, this movie has quite a bleak storyline. But both times Joseph has managed to harness the energy and the themes (in this case it was spontaneity and carefree spirits) embedded in these productions and render them in new, glamourous ways that align perfectly with his aesthetic. He even went as far as taking the python jacket Nicolas Cage’s character wears in the film and sends it down the runway in a contemporary iteration. Of course, there has to be a something distinct to distinguish this snakeskin coat from the 500 others we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Here it was little cherry prints adorning the entire coat.
These cherries were also printed on a skimpy, fifties-inspired bra top and micro-printed on a ruffled cocktail dress. But the fun and games didn’t stop there. There were smatterings of lemons, blueberries on blazers and evening dresses. Perhaps Altuzarra’s summer was filled with Beyonce’s Lemonade or else the endless source of joy lemonade provides? Either ways the sweet use of fruit in this collection wasn’t exactly consumer bait, à la a certain Italian brand we all know. There wasn’t any true meaning to it other than to have fun, and fun was to be had everywhere in this collection.
While other designers also exampled this state of graceful ease, few of them have really been able to captivate in a way that leaves a lasting impression. Sure enough, Joseph Altuzarra changed that. There have been comparisons to Oscar de la Renta here and there these past few days and I too would like to contribute to this dialogue. Joseph Altuzarra is a young Oscar de la Renta, except he amps up the sex and fearlessness.