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New York


Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear

New York


Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear

New York

BY Katharine K. Zarrella

February 13, 2017

• “Look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under ’t.” This quote, uttered by Lady Macbeth in Act 1 of Shakespeare’s Scottish play, was printed on Joseph Altuzarra’s show notes. Apparently, he had been reading it while designing his Fall 2017 collection.

• “I thought it was sort of…appropriate,” Altuzarra said with a sly smile after his show at Spring Studios. “And I was looking at other things at the same time that fed into this visual world, like Renaissance paintings—particularly Northern European Renaissance paintings, which were interesting because they [deal with the ideas] of power and money, which Macbeth deals with as well. But there’s also such a lushness to Renaissance painting, and such a beauty, which is something I wanted to capture.”

• If lushness and beauty is what Altuzarra was going for, he knocked it out of the park.  

• Fall was filled with rich textures (fur, velvet, quilted satin, butter-soft leather…the list goes on) and even richer embellishments. Satin bows were used as closures on a decadent, wine floral brocade skirt suit, and a tailored overcoat in the same fabric. Dresses and gowns came with floral appliqués and embroideries that delicately reached into the third dimension, and pretty much everything was embellished with pearls. 

• The set was equally plush, with moss-covered mounds and a pastel carpet. Altuzarra said he was going for a surreal, Alice in Wonderland feel with his backdrop. It was truly transportive. 

• But back to those pearls! They covered velvet headbands that had a crown-like feel, cascaded across furs, causing them to resemble a fawn’s coat, trimmed wool jackets and capes, served as closures on fluid velvet frocks…they were everywhere. 

• However, these scrumptious little jewels of the sea were most impactful on Altuzarra’s knee-high leather combat boots. 

• Oh, did I mention that all of his models wore flats? That’s important, because there was a fascinating dichotomy to this collection. The clothes were so regal, so intricate, so perfectly tailored, they could have simply fallen into “lovely” territory. And that would have been fine. But, thanks to lace-up corset details, ripped stockings, and those badass boots, this collection was powerful. You could even see it in the way the models walked. There was something militant about the way they charged the runway.

• Yes, that Macbeth quote made perfect sense. Sure, these women looked the picture of elegance, but they were out for blood—or, at the very least, if confronted, they would not back down. 

• “I wanted our woman this season to feel protected and empowered,” Altuzarra explained. “But we also wanted her to feel free, which is why the shoes are flat.”

• When asked about that militant tone, Altuzarra responded, “I think it’s one of those things where, because of the political situation, you just sort of read into that how you want. I didn’t want the women in the show to feel fragile or constrained or teetering on heels, vulnerable. I wanted them to feel forceful and strong.” 

• I wouldn’t mess with any of Altuzarra’s Fall women. But I would certainly tango with those clothes. 

• On a broader scale, Altuzarra’s lineup backs a notion we’re seeing in a number of collections this season—beauty and strength go hand-in-hand.


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