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Style Crush:

August 29, 2012

Five Minutes with NYC Fashion Designer Joseph Altuzarra

The CFDA Award winner jetted into Atlanta for the 20th Anniversary of Fashion Cares

By Nancy Staab

  • Portrait by

Altuzarra dishes about his Met. Ball date (and client) Lana del Rey, why French women always fascinate, and he drops hints about his Spring 2013 Collection

Designer Joseph Altuzarra Designer Joseph Altuzarra

We briefly chatted up honoree and NYC designer Joseph Altuzarra at this year’s Fashion Cares event, as he waxed poetic about client and it-girl Lana del Rey, the iconic Met. Ball, his current and upcoming spring collections, and his inimitable mix of classic and cutting edge.  The precocious designer (he’s all of twenty-five years old) has made grunge glam, bohemian luxe and the masculine feminine with his unique designer alchemy and with a Parisian-born, NYC-based sensibility, his fashions are always worldly in their sophistication. Oh, and he’s also picked up a few couture tricks from stints with Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler and Givenchy. It’s no wonder Vogue editrix Anna Wintour gave Altuzarra her personal stamp of approval. Read on for more insights into this rising star designer.   


You’ve dressed any number of it-girls from Michelle Williams to Kate Bosworth, and you even escorted and dressed singer Lana del Rey for this year’s Met. Ball in a silver gown and dramatic black cape. Any anecdotes you can share about  dressing Lana for the Met. Gala?

Altuzarra:  “Lana was the most fun Met. Ball date. She’s incredibly sweet and very different from what you would think given her stage persona. She’s not icy at all. I was inspired by her song “Summertime Sadness,” which she said was also her favorite song on her album. I wanted her look to be a little dark and Gothic.”


You seem to have a knack for making grunge glam and bohemian luxe. Would you say this is one of your designer trademarks?

Altuzarra:  “I am always into taking things that people have preconceived ideas about like the parka or the three-button blazer and making them different, cooler and more designed. It’s an opportunity to put your own stamp on a classic.”


Lana del Rey in Altuzarra with Joseph Altuzarra at the Met. Ball Lana del Rey in Altuzarra with Joseph Altuzarra at the Met. Ball

What can we expect to see in today’s runway show taken from your 2012 Fall Collection?

Altuzarra:  “As a brand I am all about the tension between the masculine and feminine. You will see that on the runway tonight. The looks were inspired by outerwear and, in particular, the peacoat with its masculine proportions and military connotations-- but the coat is worn over an embroidered dress with gypsy medallions. There are cargo pants in the collection too, but they are constructed of silk and very streamlined, merging the masculine and feminine.”


Do you have any style or fashion icons, past or present?

Altuzarra:  “Most of the women I look to are French, maybe because I was born and raised in Paris. Women like Catherine Deneuve and Charlotte Rampling inspire me.”


Can you offer up any hints of what we will see with your upcoming Spring 2013 Collection?

 Altuzarra:  “ Spring will be an evolution from fall. It’s all about layering and that tension between the masculine and feminine--but in a lighter way.”


You’ve already collaborated on a capsule collection with J. Crew. Is there any other project or brand extension that you would like to tackle in the future?

Altuzarra:  “ I think it would be fun to do housewares!”


See our earlier profile of Joseph Altuzarra announcing him as headliner of Fashion Cares 2012:


A look from Altuzarra's Fall 2012 Collection A look from Altuzarra's Fall 2012 Collection