65 posts tagged "Joseph Altuzarra"
The 2014 Farmers’ Almanac was spot-on in its forecast of a wet, hot summer—at least here in NYC, where city dwellers have been experiencing stickier-than-usual conditions and bucketloads of rain. It’s no wonder we’ve been particularly drawn to the Resort collections’ cool cutouts. Narciso Rodriguez, Joseph Altuzarra, and the Cushnie et Ochs girls were among those who showed body-con dresses featuring razor-sharp incisions. Gia Coppola took a subtler approach to ventilation at the CFDA Awards back in June, when she wore a patterned Proenza Schouler number that exposed just a sliver of abdomen. Meanwhile, Charlotte Gainsbourg turned up on the Cannes red carpet in a holey Louis Vuitton Cruise top, and Anna Dello Russo donned Anthony Vaccarello’s breezy (but not so easy) navy style during the Milan menswear shows.
Congrats to Joseph Altuzarra, who won the CFDA Award for Womenswear Designer last night—though we can’t say we’re surprised. During New York fashion week, his show is always one of the hottest tickets in town, and his woman is always as powerful as she is feminine. I’ve been lucky enough to have invested in a few of his pieces over the years, and now that Pre-Fall is hitting stores, I want his navy-and-red-striped pants. It will be the perfect transition piece—a winner, if you will.
Altuzarra pants, $816, Buy it now
News broke this morning that 2014 CFDA Womenswear Award nominee and budding master of sensual style Joseph Altuzarra is the latest designer to team up on a capsule with Target. He follows in the footsteps of brands like Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and, most recently, Peter Pilotto. “It just felt like the right moment,” offered Altuzarra when asked why he signed on to create the almost fifty-piece collection of ready-to-wear, lingerie, and accessories, which will hit Target stores, the retailer’s website, and Net-a-Porter on September 14. “I’m so focused on building the Altuzarra universe in the luxury market, but the opportunity to bring my world to a larger audience is really exciting,” added the designer, who secured an investment from Kering last year.
Don’t expect the forthcoming capsule to be a greatest-hits range—Altuzarra thinks that would be downright rude. “I didn’t want this collection to just feel like a rehash of things that we’ve done before. That wouldn’t be fair to the Target customer—almost like I didn’t put any effort into it. And it wouldn’t be fair to the Altuzarra customer who might want to buy something new and interesting that we’re not doing for our own line.” Inspired by a world traveler jetting off to far-flung destinations like Paris, Morocco, Tokyo, and Mongolia, the range will include hyper-tailored peplum jackets, pencil skirts, and trenchcoats, all with special details, like embroidery. “I didn’t want to assume that because we were doing a collection with Target that it suddenly had to be a much less interesting product. The collection has to stand on its own, and it is details, volume, and tailoring that make a piece feel rich and special.” The fabrics, too, will lend a luxury feel to the lineup—satin georgette, Swiss dot, slinky jersey, faux fur and leather, jacquard, velveteen, and stretch twill are used throughout.
Mass-market collaborations have done wonders for many an emerging brand, introducing the labels to an entire new demographic outside of the fashion (and shopping) elite. But still, there is always the question of whether a team-up of this kind can dilute a luxury brand. And though the collection is being produced largely in China, this is not a concern for Altuzarra. “Target contacted us because of what our brand stands for, and they were very encouraging about having us really develop a collection that was respectful of what the Altuzarra brand means,” said the designer. “Now, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t think about who the Target customer is and what she’s looking for, but it was really about bringing that customer into our world. There’s an appreciation for overall good product no matter what market you’re shopping in, and Target and I were on the same page about wanting to produce perfect, uncompromised garments.” Said uncompromised garments will all ring in at less than $100. With that in mind, we bet this collection will appeal to loyal fans and, more important, gain him some new ones.
With his Hugo Boss debut and thriving eponymous line, Jason Wu is having a banner year. So it comes as little surprise that the 31-year-old Taiwanese-Canadian designer is picking up the top honor at Parsons’ 2014 Fashion Benefit, which is set for tomorrow evening. Ahead of the festivities, Wu, who’s both a Parsons alum and—fun fact—a former toy designer, took time away from wrapping his forthcoming Resort collection to speak with Style.com about his secrets to success, New York fashion’s changing landscape, and his obsession with RuPaul.
Congratulations on the Parsons honor. Considering you studied at the school, do you feel you’ve come full circle?
I’ve kind of come full circle because I moved here in 2001 for my first year at Parsons. So it’s nice to go back and be a part of this new generation of the school, which has taught me a lot and done so much for me. It’s a very nice honor and I’m very proud. But I don’t think I’ve made it—at all. I think I’ve hit a nice moment in my career and it feels great to have your peers and people in your industry acknowledge your work. But that’s not to say that there’s not much more work to do.
Between your debut at Hugo Boss, the success of your own line, and now this award, it seems that you’ve really hit your stride this year.
I don’t know. I always think there’s more to do, so I never think I’ve hit my stride. I always want more and want to do more, but certainly I think it’s been a great year so far, having done two shows in New York for the first time, and then getting this award. I guess that comes with age and experience and just doing it for a while. And I guess I’m getting a little better at it.
Do people look at you differently now that you’ve become the big man at Boss?
I don’t know if I’ve knocked it out of the park yet, but I think we had a really successful first show and I guess people look at me a little more like a grown-up, a big person.
Do you feel like a grown-up?
Yeah, I feel a little older. I guess that means grown-up. Definitely achier.
Your Boss show was quite the star-studded event, and Jennifer Lawrence just wore a gown from your Fall collection to the world premiere of X-Men: Days of Future Past. What role does celebrity dressing play in a designer’s success?
Having people you admire wear your clothes in a very public way is inspiring, and it’s also a great way to get your work out there. It’s a great form of advertising. But for me it’s always about quality, not quantity, and it’s about dressing the few girls that I love. I’ve always been very loyal to Diane Kruger, Reese Witherspoon, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Kerry Washington—those are girls I dress over and over and over again. And you really develop a rapport and a friendship and a relationship. It goes back to the days when Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn, and Catherine Deneuve and Yves Saint Laurent, had those relationships that went [beyond commerciality]. Those were true relationships. It’s great to continue that tradition.
Can a young designer make it these days without a celebrity bump?
Everyone does it differently. There are some people who make clothes that are more appropriate for a red carpet and there are some people who don’t. I’m not sure if it’s a do-or-die situation, but you do have to seek exposure in your own way, in a way that’s right for your brand.
How did you come to dress Jennifer Lawrence for her X-Men premiere? Was that a big moment for you?
Yeah. Actually, we just found out [the day before]. I had no idea. I think there’s something so incredibly human about her. That’s why people love her so much—she’s so relatable. She shows a little imperfection—which we all have—and still looks stunning.
You mentioned that people like seeing imperfection in public figures. With that in mind, people seem to like you a lot. What’s your imperfection?
My imperfection is that I’m not as perfect as people seem to think I am. There’s a sense of controlled, sophisticated ideas in my clothes that are quite neat, and I think people sometimes think I’m that, but I’m not.
Are you messy?
I’m actually not messy. I’m terrible at waking up early. I’m terrible at a lot of things. I’m terrible at technology—anything computer-oriented. And I’m terrible at making anything on time, which I’m really working on. Actually, at Parsons, I was always really late, and you can’t be late at Parsons. You really get into trouble.
You, along with Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Joseph Altuzarra, etc., are part of New York’s new guard. How do you think the creative climate here is changing?
Right now, New York fashion week is at its best. We have the most young talent [succeeding] at the same time for the first time in a long, long while, and this is the first time that we’ve really been acknowledged on an international level in a long time. That has to do with the fact that our generation’s outlook is global, rather than local. If you look at Style.com, you can read that anywhere in the world. That certainly helps. Having that kind of recognition all over the world is something that is quite rare. We’re experiencing something of a moment, a movement.
Why is that, do you think?
It is, in so many ways, New York’s time. All [of the young designers] in New York come from different international backgrounds. I think that’s a very nice representation of what New York fashion is about—it’s about diversity; it’s about fresh ideas; it’s about making its own statement, because we don’t have the hundreds of years of history. We’re really still, as a whole, quite new at it.
Do you remember how you felt when you were designing your Parsons graduate collection?
It’s so funny because I went to Parsons and my major was menswear, yet I make the most fit-and-flare dresses you could possibly imagine. I guess after going to the very masculine side, I felt like I was much more comfortable in the very feminine side, and eventually the combination of the two became my work as we know it today.
Why were you initially drawn to menswear?
I always liked the idea of tailoring. I always felt making a jacket was the most difficult thing, and it is still the most difficult. Sometimes the cleanest things with the least amount of details are the most intricate.
What do fashion students need to know that isn’t necessarily taught in school?
It’s that the fashion industry isn’t by-the-books. It’s not about following one specific route, it’s about paving your own way and making it your own. That’s what makes fashion interesting—individual visions—and not one person breaks through in the same way. We all get into it slightly differently—I worked in toys first.
Speaking of toys, I read that back in the day, you did a RuPaul doll?
I worked with RuPaul once! It was a long time ago. We made a RuPaul doll and it was wildly successful and that’s how I met him. Of course, RuPaul’s Drag Race is my favorite show ever. It’s like the best show on television. RuPaul is kind of the ultimate supermodel, and I have an obsession with supermodels.
Does your former life as a toy designer ever inform your fashion designs?
Attention to detail is what links my work as a toy designer and a fashion designer. Most people say I went from dressing toy dolls to real dolls. That’s kind of the press-y version of it. But in actuality, I did everything from designing the sculptural form of the dolls to the industrialization of the molds to the manufacturing. I always knew how to create a really good product, and I think that experience primed me for this industry.
How important has business savvy been to your success?
The balance between creativity and business-savvy is something that every young designer needs to be aware of, because it’s the reality of our industry. Having that balance is something that my generation of New York designers really thinks about.
What is your advice to fashion students who want to be the next Jason Wu?
I don’t know if they do want to be the next Jason Wu! But my advice is seize every opportunity and work hard. It sounds so obvious to say that, but the glamour of the industry can get distracting sometimes, and at the end of the day it’s about the work. I work weekends all the time—there’s no such thing as overtime for me because my own time is overtime. And I don’t have any vacations, so cancel those family plans.
Between last Monday’s Met ball, Spring gala season, and the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival (which officially kicked off yesterday), eveningwear has been at the top of our minds lately. But with all due respect to Charles James and the starlets who aimed to honor his legacy by donning Gone With the Wind-style gowns at the Costume Institute extravaganza, we’ve definitely had our fill of dramatic ball skirts. If there’s one thing we’d like to see more of on the Croisette this year, it’s actresses wearing pants. In our opinion, the coolest girls at red-carpet events are the ones rocking stovepipe trousers with tiny tops or sleek le smokings. Take, as examples, Cara Delevingne’s relatively casual Stella McCartney look at the Met or the crisp white Saint Laurent suit that Gia Coppola wore to her Palo Alto premiere. Standing next to one of them in a poufy dress would make almost anyone feel fussy by comparison.
Designers seem to be championing new eveningwear alternatives, too. Raf Simons’ recent Cruise show for Dior opened with a number of dressy pant looks. And we can’t get enough of the snazzy top-and-trouser combos spotted in the Fall ’14 collections of Joseph Altuzarra, Narciso Rodriguez, and newcomers like Rosie Assoulin, Maki Oh, and Isa Arfen. Considering these convincing options, we’re hoping celebrity stylists decide to take a chance on pants.