In a world of supersized stadium fashion shows, hundreds of arms raised with phones in hands and theatrical performances, Joseph Altuzarra is running fast in the other direction—at least, if his fall 2024 show is any indication.
The designer, who is celebrating his 15th anniversary this year, welcomed an intimate group of guests to his studio to present a cadre of greatest hits from the past decade with his own twists. There were structured peacoats, oversized trenches, dramatic sculptural hats with draped halterneck dressesm and playful pops of Crayola color via an all-orange blazer and tights look. Since Altuzarra founded his brand over a decade ago, he’s become known for those kinds of cool uncompromising shapes and styles that have a little bit of weirdness thrown in, without sacrificing their core wearability and fan base. This time, that meant little clown-neck ruffs mixed with toggle button coats, a silky black and white harlequin jester dress, glittering crystal bras, and see-through lace pants. Gabriella Karefa-Johnson once again styled the collection, which manifested through her signature statement-making mixing and matching.
Paloma Elsesser strutted down the runway in a white strappy dress styled with a modified pillbox hat, and Irina Shayk closed the show in a black belted leotard with a chunky bag and a white version of the aforementioned hat. All the henley button-down dresses with oversized sleeves, knitted ruffled collars, and long oversized hooded coats that gracefully touched the floor provided a striking contrast to everyday classics reinvented, like a black structured tuxedo-style suit jacket, white silk dresses, brown draped dresses, and herringbone coats.
For the collection, Altuzarra pulled references ranging as far as Tamara de Lempicka portraits to Princess Diana, but above all else, he told guests that his main concept for the fall 2024 show was the idea of “looking dressed.” The aesthetic was very uptown, but with hints of maximalist eccentricities dropped in wherever you looked. Kind of like the personal style you see only on the streets of New York: odd combinations that feel so right and so at home in the most bustling city in the world. Altuzarra took a short break to show in Paris for a couple of seasons, but beyond that, the brand has a strongly defined home in the city. A fluffy textured coat with sparrow motifs felt like a nod (intentional or subconsciously) to the Miu Miu of the mid-2010s, and shimmering button-downs with liquid shine recalled a very high-end, refined version of vintage gems you might find in one of New York’s many vintage boutiques. It’s the clothing equivalent of personality and soul.
In a world hyper-defined by the ebbs and flows of trends like the mob wife aesthetic and quiet luxury, Altuzarra referenced some of the biggest micro trends in this collection, from the no pants look to clowncore and even ballerina-themed coquettes, but with his own classics woven in. Think: the peacoats he started with in 2012, or the shirtdresses he’d present on the runway just a few seasons later. Or those knitted dresses, now covered in a sea of little rosettes.
Still, for Altuzarra, his mission today is less about being tied to a specific narrative, but more focused on offering up an array of greatest gems the biggest fans (and newest devotees) can pluck from. Most importantly are those must-have outfits the fans keep coming back for. After all, 15 years in fashion as an independent designer is no easy feat.
Kristen Bateman is a contributing editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Her first fashion article was published in Vogue Italia during her junior year of high school. Since then, she has interned and contributed to WWD, Glamour, Lucky, i-D, Marie Claire and more. She created and writes the #ChicEats column and covers fashion and culture for Bazaar. When not writing, she follows the latest runway collections, dyes her hair to match her mood, and practices her Italian in hopes of scoring 90% off Prada at the Tuscan outlets. She loves vintage shopping, dessert and cats.