Joseph Altuzarra has been taking to the New York Fashion Week schedule for five seasons now with investment from Kering behind him. And it’s serving him well – each season his aesthetic moving on and stepping up into something more refined and more luxe. This collection was an absolute case in point: flamboyant, sinuous and sexy, this was an incredibly seductive collection.
Sexy high boots, we’ll take them; pie-crust ruffles on white lace dresses that were barely dresses at all, yes please; fluting pencil skirts that splayed playfully around the knees, definitely. It was all cut beautifully and just as much as it was sassy, it came with a repressed primness – those high ruffled collars that hinted at Victoriana strictness.
Altuzarra had cited Truman Capote’s social swans and Gloria Vanderbilt as muses. “I was interested in American High Society in the Seventies and the aesthetic dialogue that it fostered in design, fashion and art,” he explained. And with this suitably fashionable and social fairytale in place, he added his own interest of eclecticism spanning the Sixties to the Eighties, as well as a dash of contemporary culture – the latter of which kept it all in wearable check, and made the use of slits, sequins and lace, velvet and devoré, and pie-crust collars all the more clever and enticing.
Knowing Donatella Versace’s love of balls-out rock, thinking back to the Versus show in New York and St. Vincent’s storming performance at the after-party, it’s easy to assume that what Donatella was a direct reflection of her recent experiences. Straightforward silhouettes, bold color, and no embellishment added up to her strongest collection in a long time. She didn’t need to fanny around with eveningwear. That’s what couture is for. Instead, she offered a starkly modernist, color-blocked, crystal mesh take on cocktail dresses (the kind of cocktail that will carry you through till dawn—and a lifetime of regret).
True, the crystal mesh was a slam dunk in the vein of vintage Versace, but the real achievements of this collection lay elsewhere: in the comparatively quiet sophistication of the prints, the Warholian reconceptualization of the house’s Medusa signature, the motif of rings artfully dissected with real metal. And in the hyper-athleticism of pared-back pieces bifurcated by angular graphic sashes. Or in the peculiar, naive energy of sharp black tailoring defined by oversize white stitching. It was like there had been some kind of overlay on Versace, a sensibility that was slightly to the left of the label’s tradition. Slinky sexy, yes, but also fiercely don’t-give-a-damn physical.
THE first show season since Temperley London combined its mainline and ALICE offerings and things are looking strong. That was a good idea – and you could see the balance between the two working all the better for now working as one. It felt fresh, young, clean, tight, modern.
“It was great to focus solely on an amazing show collection with more daywear, core pieces and loads of very versatile separates,” explained Temperley pre-show, singling out again “versatile” and “sexy” as key buzzwords.
“I was inspired by colour and print from very naughty Japanese paintings, woodblock prints, surreal sea creatures and lots of mixing of layers and kimono references with our looks both for day and evening,” she went on. And all of this was entirely evident. Cropped trench jackets, breezy skirts worn over trousers but whose effect was only really felt wafting away as it did at the back, gingham and plaid, pink and black stripes, dense embroideries, stiff A-line silhouettes.
Slouchy-boxy tailoring was given the Temperley edge with lace accents and despite all of these references and layers, it never felt heavy.
“The Temperley girl is more relaxed with a very sexy attitude,” the designer pointed out.
The mood suits her well.
Click below to shop Spring/Summer 2015 Temperley London looks: