Altuzarra Womenswear A/W12

Last year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner showed bedouin sex appeal and exotic embellishments

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Joseph Altuzarra has gained a reputation for his fine craftsmanship and couture-like tailoring, and with his last two collections it seems he's incorporated an interest in exoticism and travel. Last season took us to the wild prints of the tropical jungle but this season sees him drawing from the sensual spice route for inspiration. "It started with a comic book hero from the 1970's called Corto Maltese," said Joseph after the show. "He was a sailor, his mother was a gypsy witch and his father was Venetian. It was never as literal as taking that and putting it on the runway, but I was thinking more about starting with a very strict and austere line, a very kind of French wardrobe and what you would pick up on your travels. The carpets, the fabrics, the ornamentations; that's what really interested me."

I was thinking more about starting with a very strict and austere line, a very kind of French wardrobe and what you would pick up on your travels. The carpets, the fabrics, the ornamentations; that's what really interested me

Ornamentation played a key role in his collection by way of Tibetan inspired Pom Poms, beaded mirror panels and rippling masses of Moroccan coins along the flowing hems of dresses or adorning heavy knit sweaters. The Bedouin coins shaking and shimmering down the runway were hypnotic and elegant under his hand, making every motion seem weighted and magic. Like Moroccan belly dancers, there was a definite element of sex to those embellishments, coupled with a thigh-high stiletto boot and a slit dress to make them all the more enticing. 

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