NY designers are heeding the call of the wild this season. It was there in Alexander Wang ‘s melding of a floral print with his street-tough look and futuristic techno fabrics and in a strange synergy, in his good friend, Joseph Altuzarra’s showing for S/S12. Altuzarra wisely continued some of the themes he was exploring with his hit A/W11 grunge-inspired collection with its focus on outerwear, but instead of heavy ponchos and luxurious parkas, we got nylon windbreakers, padded leather jackets and extremely desirable sleeveless leather trenches. But things got seriously psychedelic when he introduced an acidic neon bright tropical print (remixed from an old Hawaiian shirt) first as subtle lining and panels inset in dresses and jackets then finally into an electric backless vest and trouser suit.
Dazed Digital: Your last collection was a reaction against the one before it but this seemed like an evolution of some of the ideas?
Joseph Altuzarra: It definitely was in terms of process and how we were thinking about it. So the idea of functionality and utilitarianism and the fetishization of outerwear was where we started. In this case it was a lot more about windbreakers and sports-inspired outerwear.
DD: The show seemed to be about this tension between urban and something more primal.
Joseph Altuzarra: Yeah, and almost exaggerating that tension because I think when you make the primal almost hyper primal with those colours and those prints that are so hard to ignore and to contrast that with the urban sober bit that was so black and white, I think that tension is what makes things interesting.
DD: And where did the tropical print come from?
Joseph Altuzarra: It came from a Hawaiian shirt I saw – it was the idea of it and then we built our idea around it. We were thinking about how can we make a print like that look chic.
DD: For a NY designer you seemed to really push out of the comfort zone of monochrome with the explosion of colours.
Joseph Altuzarra: Every season I try to push myself out of the comfort zone because it’s not interesting to me otherwise.
DD: And if you could sum up an emotion running through the collection, what would it be?
Joseph Altuzarra: A sense of danger!