Craft and luxury. They have been dear to Joseph Altuzarra since his very first collection five years ago this month. But signing on with Kering late last year has given him the means to explore them in even deeper ways. That's what Altuzarra set out to do for Fall—and at a venue, Spring Studios, where big guys like Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and DVF are showing this season. Altuzarra is a big guy now, too, but he made that point in decidedly unflashy ways. There was an appealing simplicity to his clothes—less fashion, and more style.
Take the double-face navy cashmere wrap coat with generous cobalt blue shawl collar that opened the show. It was a model of timeless refinement, as it was in the bolder combination of pine green and fuchsia that came later. Altuzarra cut skirtsuits in the same lofty, unembellished double-face cashmere and finished them with such a fine attention to detail that they could've easily been worn inside out. That was an idea that particularly resonated with him. An understated gray sheath was constructed with horizontal slits at the waist that exposed bright orange and coral linings, "almost," Altuzarra explained, "as if the back of the dress was being exposed."
Counterbalancing the precision patternmaking that went into a number like that was a group of woven tapestry pieces. Hand-loomed by artisans here in New York, the tops and dresses were inspired by the 1970s textiles of Sheila Hicks, an artist Altuzarra discovered during Art Basel Miami Beach, a trip that also goes a ways toward explaining his unbridled use of color this season. They were beautiful—lavish and raw at once. Something similar was at work in the shearling jackets and coats that were modeled after Patagonia-style fleeces with patch pockets and linings in painted leather. A quick glance and they looked almost humble, but lay your hands on them and it was a different story. In the end, that was the big takeaway: There is grace and beauty to be found in comfort.