'We are very French in spirit… The French woman has that mix of bourgeoisie and perversity, sensuality and sexuality,' Joseph Altuzarra told me when I interviewed him recently for the September issue of British Harper’s Bazaar.' The idea of empowerment is also an important factor – it’s become more crucial as women have taken on increasingly powerful positions in the workplace.' And from the first look on the runway for S/S13, the collection appeared the embodiment of this statement.
Beginning with chic work-wear inspired separates, Altuzarra’s vision for the upcoming season revolved around versatile pieces, such as innovative transeasonal cape-like outerwear crafted from denim-like striped cotton, perfect for a high-powered working woman. After all, it is women, not girls, for whom Altuzarra designs – and ultimately this distinction sets him apart from his oft-compared New York contemporaries, and friends, Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, and Alexander Wang. Following his breakout collection last season, the CFDA's womenswear award recipient had set the bar high – and with this collection proved himself well and truly among New York’s most influential designers. From sophisticated daywear comprised primarily of button-down shirts and sleek pencil skirts, the collection graduated into a couture-like extravaganza of lavish, embellished evening dresses dripping with gold fringing and tassels – a necessary dose of excess and luxury in an otherwise chicly understated, though diverse, collection.