Altuzarra: all work and no play
To La Coupole at Saturday lunchtime, to witness the latest collection by Joseph Altuzarra dedicated, rather seriously, to work wear.
The famed Montparnasse restaurant is celebrated for its frescos and paintings by legendary artists, though they did not seem to terrifically inspire a restrained and relatively modest collection by the designer. This was all about creating a wardrobe for busy contemporary women; though staging the show in a restaurant only made one think of Ladies Who Lunch.
Turns out the Altuzarra lady is a rather solemn figure; who strolls to her office or art gallery in chalk stripe coats, cut with upper flaps or broken pattern Prince of Wales three-piece suits – all finished with large buttons.
For dinner, the designer cooked up dark purple floral dresses with peaked shoulders, dissected by woven leather belts. And his finale of multi-grommet dresses and tops in suede, leather and cable wool had great punch. He also dreamed up some outstanding tie-dye silk dresses and you had to love his accessories, such as his faux futurist orange wrap sunglasses – ideal with a soundtrack that included the Love Theme from Blade Runner. Vangelis would have been pleased.
“The collection grew around the idea of memories of women I grew up with – from my mother getting dressed for work; and my teachers, to women I saw on the street in Paris in the Eighties; and those in the pages of magazines,” explained the designer in his show notes.
However, his color palette was muddy, even dull – walnut, almond, storm gray and teal – in a season where many Paris collections are crammed with muted hues. The optimistic color explosion of the London season is a distant memory.
Altuzarra could boast a fine selection of high-heel suede mechanic boots and fabulous twig shaped earrings, all great panache. However, this felt very much like a designer being overly determined to create commercial clothes rather than advance the fashion vernacular. Hence, it felt like a step back from Altuzarra’s stellar collection seen in September in a Paris high-school courtyard. From fabulous to the familiar and even formulaic.
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