Let’s be serious: America is in a little bit of a rut at the moment. Sure, we in the good old U.S. of A. are trying to stay positive in the face of adversity, but it’s undeniable that a cloud of anxiety and devastation currently looms from sea to shining sea. And while some designers did their darnedest to combat that with creativity during NYFW, gloom was still in the air.
Not so in Paris. Like Milan, Paris has been an upbeat embrace of beauty and positivity. That’s something that Joseph Altuzarra, who moved his show from New York to Paris fashion week this season, finds very attractive. “I came to Paris a few months ago, and I think the optimism and positivity here was so palpable—it just felt like a different place,” offered the designer after his Saturday evening show (which you can see in its entirety here). “The energy here was so different, and that really made me miss it,” continued Altuzarra, who is half French and spent his formative years in Paris, living here until he was 18. “Obviously, there have been [terrorist] attacks in Paris, but I think the French are very resilient. They’ve gone through a difficult time…but there is a strong sense national pride and people are happy and proud to be French.” He suggested that the election of 39-year-old French President Emmanuel Macron was a major contributing factor (though, it’s worth noting the young leader’s approval ratings have been on the decline of late).
“[Showing in Paris] is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot, and for a while,” Altuzarra admitted during a cocktail fete with MAC after his Spring outing. “I felt to a certain degree that people had sort of pegged me as an American designer. That can happen when you show in a specific city, but I’m not just American. I’m also French, and I grew up here, and I wanted to be able to show the diversity in my background. We’re going to keep on showing in Paris, and our company will be based in New York.” French company Kering also owns a minority stake in Altuzarra’s brand—chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault and his wife, Salma Hayek, were both front row Saturday night—thus furthering the designer’s ties to the City of Light.