There is a particular 'la la la la la la'… snippet of a lullaby that can make the hair on your arms stand up like good little soldiers. When Joseph Altuzarra samples Mia Farrow’s haunting voice from Rosemary’s Baby for his show’s soundtrack however, the cause for the effect is pure joy – that’s how good his latest collection was. Altuzarra is on a roll and the ease with which the designer appears to be working is inspiring. But you only need to glance over at Mama Altuzarra looking effortlessly chic while greeting guests tonight to understand where it all comes from. It’s wonderful to see a designer take confidence in his skills and trust his instinct.
Altuzarra’s instinct for what women want to wear and, more importantly, how they want to feel while wearing it, has always served him right. He has a signature of sorts now; a straight skirt with a sexy slit and a mannish shirt loosely tucked in and rather dangerously undone. I attended a fashion talk with Carine Roitfeld just before where I was reassured that we would make the show on time because Carine would not miss it for the world. Of course she wouldn’t. Every look was a key and a note and a scene to move us and the story along – from the innocently sweet opening looks coming more and more undone to the black lattice lather cage of a dress to the beautifully romantic conclusion, Altuzarra took us on a cinematic journey with just a few la la las.
The opening sugary sweet pink and powdery blue seersucker and gingham looks – the light fabrics looking a bit crinkled and gathered just so at the waist and shoulders with ribbons ending in small pearls managed to be both wholesomely pretty and, teamed with a pair of black high-waisted trousers or a button-down skirt, an excellent option for the modern workspace. There is energy in the way the sleeves of a shirt are pushed up the arm or how a tie hangs off a waist or the contrast of a cognac suede shirt (later reimagined as a tunic dress) tucked in a black and white cotton skirt. A series of black crepe de chine looks with sheer tulle panels and rows of small pears on the seams and hemlines were sexy, plain and simple, especially when a tuxedo jacket was thrown over them. By the time the last three whispers of dresses disappeared from view, their floral adornments looking a bit dusty and worn (Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon was another inspiration) the audience was in love. You could just feel it.