If you’re not familiar with the name Joseph Altuzarra, you soon will be. This is one of those up-and-comers who — certainly after this show — has pretty much up and come. Winner of this year’s coveted CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear, the diminutive designer proved with this latest collection that he not only has a great sense of proportion but can strike a nice balance between elegance, whimsy and just a little flash.
First, the proportion — exemplified in the first few looks down the runway, which featured coats tossed over models’ shoulders, pinned up top with slits for their arms to come through, as if they were wearing a cape. These overcoats and trenches flared out just so atop sensible, snug cotton skirts.
As for elegance, the proof is in his evening looks: dresses and multilayered ensembles with a decidedly Arabian or North African flavor. Relying mostly on a palette of black, white, gold and “Bedouin blue,” the clothes were swaddled round the body, seeming both cozy and swami chic.
One standout — an olive ribbed V-neck sweater with olive silk macramé fringe skirt — gently shimmied as the model walked down the runway. (There’s some whimsy for you.) And his embroidered wrap scarf dresses twinkled with an array of Swarovski crystals. (The flash.)
In the hands of a less talented designer, this handiwork might have come off like costumes — something out of “I Dream of Jeannie.” But with Altuzarra, it was something special…and just a hint, no doubt, of many more exciting seasons to come.