Bedouin and the upscale workwear. Joseph Altuzarra shares his design sketches
Some would say that style is an illusion. It's the alchemical mixture of various parts that somehow culminates in a complete look, an even more complicated procedure if the look you're going for is elegant maximalism. In his spring collection, Joseph Altuzarra created such a spell using beaded crystal patterns that sparkled like diamonds, golden tassels that dangled securely from attached locations, and rounds of charmeuse piled all the way up to the neck. It had the charming eccentricity of a woman swathed in her most luxurious fabrics, a wild illusion of chaotic wrapping that somehow stayed statuesque; a single zipper running up the back. They made glamour look so effortless and easy, confidently relaxed and lavishly beautiful. Even in the opening pieces, made from heavy workman's uniform fabrics, revealed secret feminine shapes that had the eye fooled at first glance. Altuzarra referenced Orlando as an inspiration, a story of complete perceptual transformation that is so vivid it morphs the gender, an illusion that becomes so heartfelt it manifests into reality.
Dazed Digital: Where did you get the inspiration for the forms?
Joseph Altuzarra: I kind of started with the movie Orlando, the idea of this tension between masculine and feminine. We started with these very masculine fabrics, railroad stripes and striped linens and cottons, then we reworked them into these very feminine shapes; slashing the sides so that you would see the arm and trying to create eroticism out of it. It was a whole journey, and I kind of went into embellishment and embellishing fabrics that normally wouldn't be embellished, these very masculine fabrics, creating a narrative.
DD: What about the heavy wrapped and piled fabrics?
Joseph Altuzarra: Those are all Tuareg and Bedouin inspiration, things that were very nomadic. I loved this idea of draping embroidery in an unexpected way.
DD: Was Tilda Swinton, of Orlando, a particular muse for this collection?
Joseph Altuzarra: She wasn't, but the mood of it was. This kind of serenity of it, there's almost this sense of calm and this very strong underlying sense of tension in the movie. Not a lot happens but there's a lot of power behind it.