Despite the fact that Altuzarra is a New York label through and through a certain Parisian flair is always at the heart of it. So, this afternoon’s detour to the Basque Country was a nice surprise. Joseph Altuzarra looked to his Basque heritage (on his father’s side) this season. 'I was inspired by the inherent beauty of the materials and crafts of the region, and the ease and humility it exuded', the designer mentioned in his notes. Humility is a funny word to use in fashion – it’s not a virtue readily found in its circles – and yet it feels native to both the label and the man himself. And although there’s nothing modest about the level of Altuzarra’s craft or beauty of his latest offerings, there was something unostentatious about this collection’s singular focus. Everything felt natural, barely treated, breathable.
Take the white plissé crepe dress that opened the show, for example. Crinkled, with drawstrings at the waist, it looked as if it was just washed, sun-dried on a clothesline and thrown on. Or the one that followed, a straw-hued linen shirt, tied at the back, with a clay orange skirt. Altuzarra’s take on the classic Spanish espadrille is high-heeled, by the way. Details were repeated throughout and if not for the ties, it was either a line of gold buttons running down the side of a suede high-waist skirt, a navy blazer or the back of a shirt or a row of rope toggles like on a black long-sleeved jumpsuit. The hand-dyed prints were the unexpected winners however – forest green, sea blue or sunset orange on a pleated shirtdress or a t-shirt-like dress with the prerequisite Altuzarra slit. They felt fresh and fun and as chic as dip-dye can be. That sunset orange hue, most impressively used on a shrunken blazer and wide leg trousers, was nothing short of spectacular. Mother of pearl embroidery introduced the eveningwear we’ve come to expect from the designer, and today, strewn across broderie anglaise dresses along with wood beads and sequins, they resembled mosaics and the patterns seen on pebbled church courtyards across the Mediterranean. The pale blue one at the end seemed almost washed out by the sun.