altuzarra goes time-traveling for fall/winter 16

Inspired by Jim Jarmusch's Tilda Swinton-starring vampire flick, Joseph Altuzarra wove a wickedly nomadic patchwork traversing times and cultures.

by Hannah Ongley
14 February 2016, 7:35pm

Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans

Tilda Swinton's character in Jim Jarmusch's fabulously cool vampire flick Only Lovers Left Alive was one of the starting points for Joseph Altuzarra's most recent collection. The pragmatic designer was quick to point out that he wasn't summoning Tilda Swinton's otherworldly character specifically. Rather he was drawn to Eve's exuberantly curious approach to mixing elements from different eras. Evidently one of the perks of being alive for 300 years is a wickedly eclectic wardrobe. "If you could see the studio when we were working on this collection, there was just so much stuff and it was just a lot of play," Altuzarra explained backstage. "Mixing things, playing with things, photocopying things — it was just a really fun process."

The chaos manifested on the runway as a nomadic patchwork of rich Indian paisleys rendered in wild colors and evocative Moroccan folkloric costumes, all spliced and woven with dancing sequins and Venetian pearls. But none of the magic was lost when translated into silhouettes for real women with real lives. Aqueous pencil skirts and wild handkerchief dresses that fell to uncomplicated lengths and were topped with sharply nipped blazers in more of those kaleidoscopic paisleys. Lush fringing belied what was otherwise a very sensible blue sweater, while silk ribbons wove through a chunky turtleneck knit one. Belted shearling coats and a decadent striped fur were made even more necessary by the arctic temperatures outside.

Then of course there were the bags — crossbodys, hobos, and a saddle mini decked out in scarf-wrapped silver chains, all in the same adventurous vein. Altuzarra said the response to his bullrope Ghiada handbag line, which he launched in February last year, has been "phenomenal". He likes the way accessories don't have to "jump around" season after season, giving his customers time to understand the product.

Altuzarra designs, after all, not for reclusive vampires but for women who live actual human lives. He said as much in his show notes, stressing that he wanted the collection to speak strictly to women he knew. And what do these women want? "I think she wants a lot of variety. I think she wants things that are really desireable but that also really work for her and that work for her routine and her life. It's unrealistic to think that women who are buying clothes are only buying it for the fashion." The designer's badass cast of cool girls — Lineisy, Binx, Imaan, and Frederikke, stomping to the beat of Grimes and Janelle Monáe's "Venus Fly" — proved this can be pretty rock 'n' roll too. 


Text Hannah Ongley 
Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans

joseph altuzarra
jason lloyd evans
nyfw fall/winter 16