I honestly do my best to approach this with an open mind. I take no pleasure in being critical. As fragile as my ego can be depending on the day it does not gain sustenance from questioning the validity of another designer's work. The last thing I want is to offend or give people reasons to doubt my veracity. So when I rail against the system or cast a withering glance at a collection it is an honest response and not a cheap shot. Fashion is something I love and have given my life to so it is with complete seriousness that I share my opinions even when they may sound flip. I just wanted to put that out there.
This season is a curious one for Joseph Altuzarra. He has been hailed a wunderkind like Prabal Gurung, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and others. I've never seen him as anything other than a young designer in search of his voice and his path. The fashion machine is so accelerated at this time that taking baby steps is no longer acceptable. A designer has one season to declare his or her presence and then BANG, it's the big time or no time. These designers are like hot house blossoms who are forced to bloom whether they're ready or not and too many of them in my opinion are not. The proof of that truth is in the random and almost schizophrenic quality of the work. In the case of this collection, one moment the focus is deconstructed, quasi-indigenous tribal clothing with raw, asymmetric edges and applied reptile skins and the next they're bias-cut silk slips with chunky sweaters under parkas that look like luxe replicas of stock from the Army Navy store. It's all styling and posing with the loud roar of a fawning audience.
When I think about Altuzarra being the leader in the race for the Vogue/CFDA initiative with a several hundred thousand dollar award and industry mentoring when supposedly this company has done four million dollars in business and is now profitable I have to wonder what the point of this initiative is. I thought it was to help up and coming design businesses. I didn't realize it was for businesses that have already succeeded.
There were some beautiful hand knitted sweaters and a few sexy, bias cut dresses. But for the most part this looked like a stylist's idea of a collection with lots of pseudo edgy sportswear pieces tossed together with curiously furry shoes. The word trendy is the best way to describe it. The clothes left me cold despite the fact that there were so many derivative parkas.