The silhouette may have looked grown up and unadventurous from a distance, but when you got in a little closer, Altuzarra felt surprisingly youthful, even joyful and definitely not one for those who prefer to keep their fashion discreet. Deceptively conservative pencil shaped skirts and slim blazers were revealed to be cut in snakeskin, decorated with sparkling cherries, pineapples or lemons and teamed with sweetly frilled bra tops.
I’ve been a fan of this label for a while and the AW16 collection that just dropping in-store now really justified that. It was a cosy-but-cool celebration of the season’s key trends and I only wish I could afford one of those shearling outerwear pieces or the black and white sweaters.
It’s a collection that has led to speculation about whether this label could be the Next Big Thing so that made SS17 even more closely watched than usual. And was it worth the wait? Yes. Joseph Altuzarra looked like he was having fun with colour, silhouette, print and detail.
It may be a season when print’s trend stranglehold appears to be weakening slightly but he isn’t one of the designers coming down of the side of plains. Pattern was a major theme, right down to the patterned hosiery. It took in those cute fruity embellishments, as well as gingham checks, giant stylised florals and the enduring appeal of python (both the skin and as a print).
But the underlying story was about a curvy, sexy, silhouette: think python blazers with nipped-in waists atop peplum hem skirts (as mentioned, they were cut in snakeskin but re-imagine them in denim and you have a high street winner).
Then there were the ruffled skirts that swished and swirled as the models moved, clingy rib-knit dresses pulled down off the shoulder, cutaway wrap effect pencil skirts that revealed an acre of thigh (as did the pineapple-embellished evening dress that was part of the finale). Even an ultra-luxe snakeskin shirtdress looks more sexy than businesslike with a flippy hem and tightly belted waistline.
And talking of belts – they were plentiful here. Belts have been a major accessory statement in New York and Altuzarra’s came in eyelet, studded or whipstitched leather, plus snakeskin, gingham or as soft tie belts. And the giant twisted hoop earrings looked like another easy idea for the high street to buy into.
And while inspiring the wider retail sector may not be what Mr Atluzarra was thinking about when he and his team created this collection, when you’re heading into the big league, as some commentators think he is, you have to accept that ‘influencer;’ status comes at a price.