Photo | IMAXtree


The Impression Review Score


Precious Little Lady
Joseph Altuzarra unpacks his heritage in an intimate, emotional collection

Joseph Altuzarra recently became a father, causing him to reflect on family and the clothes that live in your family, the preciousness they take on from belonging to someone in your family. So this collection was inspired by a box of clothes from the 1940s that his grandmother had emigrated with from China to the US. Hence his take on the cheongsam, its cut and buttons and the prints. It was a good interpretation, not too ethnic as to be unwearable, and just the right exotic to be alluring. For example, leaving the buttons unbuttoned loosened up the stiffness and propriety of the look, not to mention created a sexy, asymmetric slit effect. Similarly, putting a Western collar on top of the Mandarin collar not only alludes to his mixed heritage, but is also a cool design innovation.

There was an overarching purity and refinement to the silhouette. Portrait collars tend to give everybody good posture and make you look ladylike.

I just wanted this collection to feel much more pure, much more intimate, much more emotional.

– Joseph Altuzarra (speaking backstage with The Impression)

His grandfather’s suits from the 30s and 40s were also a source of inspiration. The tailored jackets in the collection and even knits had external darting, which Altuzarra explained was because, “There was this way of making clothes at the time that was so specific so we wanted to show it. A lot of the clothes were handmade and the darts were handmade.” The simplicity of the clothes was contrasted by the fluff and femininity of the accessories – clutches and slides were feather confections evocative of old Hollywood glamour and boudoirs. Apparently his grandmother wears these slides, “And I loved that the silhouette would be very sober in a lot of ways, but that the accessories would be where the frivolity would come in, and this idea of emotion and girlishness.” 

When asked about making clothes for his baby daughter, Altuzarra said, “You know what, my team did make really sweet outfits for her – which was so cute! – as a surprise. I haven’t yet thought about it. But I would.” An Altuzarra Kids line… wouldn’t that be precious!

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