Joseph Altuzarra, synonymous with bohemian sensibility, luxe tie-dye, paisley prints, and Watermill straw bags, showcased a surprising twist in his Spring/Summer 2024 collection at the New York Public Library. Drawing inspiration from French New Wave cinema and Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby,” Altuzarra created a collection that combines veneers of propriety with sinister underpinnings. This shift reflects the designer’s desire to move away from escapism and towards something that felt more real.
The Spring/Summer 2024 collection marked a significant departure from Altuzarra‘s previous designs. “The last two seasons were steeped in escapism, this collection I wanted to go back to something that felt more real,” Altuzarra said backstage. This statement indicated a notable change in direction for the designer, who embraced a more restrained color palette and print while injecting exuberance in silhouette, fuller shapes, and fabrications. The incorporation of metallic thread, resulting in perma-wrinkles, and the detailed embroidery dotted throughout the collection, gave it a touch of undone glamour. This was evident in the organza pencil skirt and sweater sets, the exuberant pleats and bralettes, the lady coats, and baby doll dresses.
Altuzarra further explained that raw-cut slips hanging down below skirts, coats with dresses underneath like nightgowns, and veiled baby doll dresses, which he affectionately referred to as “our four little ghosts,” were key elements of the collection. While he did not explicitly mention Prada, the similarities to the Italian brand’s undone glamour were undeniable. This strategic shift towards a more restrained yet exuberant aesthetic demonstrated Altuzarra’s ability to adapt to the changing times and needs of his clientele.
Interestingly, the pandemic had a positive impact on Altuzarra’s business. It allowed the brand to focus on its loyal customer base, rather than competing with other brands.
“Business is really good. What was interesting about the pandemic is it focused us on who our loyal customer is. I think pre-pandemic, I felt I was competing with other brands. Now I just feel like I’m building a community,” Altuzarra noted. This shift in perspective was not only crucial for the survival of the brand during challenging times but also laid the foundation for a stronger and more focused community-oriented approach moving forward.