In 2017, American designer Joseph Altuzarra announced that he would no longer show during New York Fashion Week and, instead, moved his ready-to-wear presentations to Paris. Now, in 2021, the designer is poised to return to the Big Apple. To give fashion enthusiasts an insight into Altuzarra’s New York Fashion Week return, IMG organized a special panel as part of NYFW: The Talks. (NYFW: The Talks is a series of in-depth conversations with designers, artists, athletes, and industry leaders presented by BMW, the official automotive partner for NYFW this season.) Altuzarra’s panel took place on Sept. 9 at Tribeca’s Spring Studios. The chat offered a peek into the designer’s years-long love affair with NYC, as well as his outlook on the rise of feel-good fashion in America.
“The entire narrative of [my Spring/Summer 2022 collection] is about welcoming a new era and the idea of rebirth,” Altuzarra said at the event. “It's the kind of narrative that mirrored my feeling about what New York was going through and feelings about being a New Yorker.”
During this panel, the acclaimed designer spoke with BDG’s Vice President of Fashion Tiffany Reid. After eight seasons of showing his namesake label in his native Paris, the designer decided to move the collections back to the NYC, where Altuzarra has been headquartered all along. In his words, moving the shows to Paris (back in 2017) felt like the right decision for him at the time — plus, he was able to spend time with his parents, who live in Paris. But now, his post-pandemic return to NYC couldn’t have been more natural.
“I spent 2020 in New York, and I really am a New Yorker,” he said during the discussion. “I want to be part of this community. I want to be part of this kind of rebirth and reintegration of the New York fashion scene and New York as a city.”
In addition to discussing Altuzarra’s diverse experiences, the two panelists also touched on the perils of being a young designer in New York versus Paris. Altuzarra said he appreciated the support that came from the American fashion system and its openness to new ideas and emerging talent.
“I decided to start the company in New York partially because I love New York so much, but also because it was impossible to be a young designer in Paris,” he recalled. “There are so many big houses in Paris and no one would really take you seriously, and there wasn't really any support for young designers there. And New York was so welcoming and the community really embraced new talent, which was really attractive.”
When Reid asked how he sees people dressing post-pandemic, the designer noted comfort and a desire to truly dress up again. “The way that I feel personally is that I hadn't seen people in a long time and now that I do, I want to make every outfit count,” the designer admitted. “[Our customers] are really looking for special things that will make them feel good, and that they're going to look good in. In this time that we're living through, you want to put something on your body that you feel amazing in — and I don't think that has really changed.”
This year, you can watch and pre-order the designer’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection via nyfw.com, thanks to the see-now-buy-now feature provided by Afterpay. Mark your calendar for 3 p.m. EST on Sept. 12 to view Altuzarra’s runway show — and in the meantime, scroll through TZR’s running list of the best NYFW street style.