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.
Well, the Parisians know how to end with a bang—especially when it comes to what we want to be wearing next spring.
At Balenciaga, all-white lacy Chinatown-style spa slippers ruled the runway, while Céline’s two-tone ankle boots were similarly both sensible and compellingly chic (if less tongue-in-cheek).
Translucent accessories emerged as a micro-trend, with PVC paneling lending itself to a sporty vibe at Loewe and Chanel.
At Vetements, Demna Gvasalia’s thigh-high embroidered boots—part wader, part cowboy—felt off-kilter and cool in all the right ways. For those with more classic intentions, the exquisitely crafted necklaces gracing the models at Valentino were breathtaking, while at Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière stuck to the brand’s traditional monogram logo but splashed it across new bag shapes, including a sharply pleated drawstring backpack that left us swooning.
There was truly something for everyone. (Now whether there’s something for every budget, on the other hand . . .)
Since they were baby twins looking at fashion magazines, Dean and Dan Caten have always loved a pose. The sculpted volumes of their new collection got them free-associating all over the place. When Elisabeth Erm held her position in a pair of rounded, cropped pants cut from silk raffia, her legs reminded Dean of a centaur’s.
That fabric, woven in vibrant color-blocks that were reminiscent of Sonia Delaunay’s textiles, was a key component of the Catens’ new collection. So were allover beadwork—on sweatshirts, slouchy pants, and thigh-high boots—and torrents of frothy plissé. As lighthearted as that sounds, it pointed to a new seriousness of purpose for the twins. They’ve always been great technicians, but that skill has often been obscured by their showmanship. Their presentation was as large-scaled as ever, it was set against the neutral backdrop of a New York artist’s loft, a somewhat higher-brow location than the B-movie scenarios—women’s prisons or Hollywood lunatic asylums—they’ve been drawn to in the past. There was a new emphasis on form and craft. Leather bonded to jersey was cut into light, athletic little shell tops. Even T-shirts were double-faced to give them a little more structure.
Which is not to say the Catens have turned their backs on the style that has built them an empire, its latest outpost the store that just opened on Rodeo Drive. The collection was actually shaped by a running high-low dialogue. So a floor-length skirt of scalloped plissé was shown with a cropped denim jacket, the same billowing piece was cut from the Delaunay-patterned silk raffia and paired with a cropped white tee. And a peplum-ed jacket in gold leather topped a pair of the boyfriend jeans that are a Caten classic. They love this idea—pants slouched to reveal branded briefs “borrowed from a boyfriend.”
The allure of a little white lace dress is timeless, but both Altuzarra and Rodarte added a little subversion to their offerings in the form of chokers and up-to-there leather boots. Altuzarra’s femme has a stricter sense of kink, with a bold black choker and suggestively frilly lace-up boots—she’s an Edwardian bad gal through and through, though she does get a bra to wear underneath her barely-there dress, which is more than Rodarte’s prairie disco babe can say. The sisters Mulleavy dressed up their pastoral offering with a buckle choker and thigh-high croc boots, but left the underpinnings out, turning their arty girl’s sweet reputation on its head.