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All the World's a Stage for Altuzarra's 15th Anniversary Show

A sad reality about the fashion industry is that not all brands get to celebrate their 15th anniversary. Especially in New York City, we've seen many, many promising designers shine bright and flame out, their business unable to stay afloat (it's expensive to run a fashion company!), much less compete in an increasingly crowded market. Joseph Altuzarra just reached that milestone, marking 15 years since his first-ever presentation (a standing-room-only runway at an art gallery, with his mom's cookies as backstage sustenance, where he himself pressed play on a boombox to provide a soundtrack). On Sunday, he staged his salon-style anniversary show in his namesake brand's offices, presenting a collection that considers performance — both that which entertains us and that which we put on ourselves.

"When I started working on this collection, we went back to the very first season. Initially, I had the thought of maybe bringing back some of the shapes, of reworking some of the original ideas. But what became really apparent to me was what I was really nostalgic for and what I was really attached to was the intimacy of the very first show," he said. "It was a very familial, very community-oriented presentation. A lot of the people who were at this first show are people who have followed me and supported me and encouraged me throughout my career... Even though originally we had thought about doing a really big runway bash, I liked the idea of doing something that felt counterintuitively intimate and going back to the clothes and what I do, which is design collections."

What works best for Altuzarra, the brand, he continued, "is when things are very personal. I'm the founder and creative director of the brand. We're not a big corporate company — we're a very personal, human-sized company. It was nice to be able to showcase that."

In a single-row bench lining the periphery of the room, about 70 guests watched as models came out to the score for Todd Hayne's "May December" by Marcelo Zarvos (itself is adapted from Michel Legrand's compositions for the 1971 film "The Go-Between"). Without spoiling it (seriously, go watch what should've been Charles Melton's first Oscar nomination), it's a movie about performance. That was a big inspiration for the designer this season: He left a copy of Henrik Ibsen's "Four Great Plays" on each seat; in the show notes, he wrote of pulling elements from the theater and the ballet, and of exploring "the negotiation between public and private self."

Altuzarra thought about the clothes that actors wear. (There are Pierrot collars in soft knits, presented as a stylized alternative to the classic turtleneck. In lieu of leg warmers or rehearsal leggings, the brand proposes knit joggers cinched at the ankle — not so much for the member of the ensemble, but for the subject of a Deborah Turbeville photograph off-duty.) Perhaps more crucially, though, he thought about the clothes anyone who's adopting a persona might wear.

"There have been so many TikTok trends — there's the 'coquette' trend, there's the 'mob wife' trend, there's been all these really interesting developments on social media... It's almost like people are cosplaying," he said. "I thought there was something really interesting about clothing as costume and costume as clothing. Especially with mob wife, it's like you're putting on a character and becoming someone else. Thinking about clothes within that context was interesting... We wanted to present the foil to that idea: clothes for life; things that felt soft, that felt enveloping, that felt like they could let you be you; clothes that have a life of their own."

(As an aside: If you're not following the designer's personal accounts on social media, you're really missing out.)

This season, we've seen many designers actively push against of-the-moment trends in favor of timelessness and building a lasting wardrobe. It's a natural reaction to a cycle that's only been accelerated by TikTok's aesthetic-of-the-week, the algorithm always itching to find the next thing and next-next thing. It's also a smart way to think about business: People don't want to pay luxury prices for ephemeral relevance; if they're going to spend that kind of money, especially on apparel, they want something they'll be able to wear for a long, long time.

Altuzarra has an even more personal point of view on this: "Every season since my kids were born, I order pieces for them from the collection and, when they're 18, I'll give them a wardrobe. But it has, in very subtle ways, colored the way that I think about design, because I literally am creating clothes in 2024 that I want to give them in 2038," he explained. "[I'm] thinking about, 'What do I think will be something they'll want to wear in 15 years and won't think is costume-y? It made me think a lot more about the longevity of clothing and also how clothing can hold memory and meaning."

See the full Altuzarra Fall 2024 collection below.

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

Altuzarra Fall 2024. Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu/Courtesy of Altuzarra

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