“Undone – and very sensual,” said Joseph Altuzarra to sum up his powerful collection
that took the prim, womanly look of the early 1960s and had it literally undone.
To the music from the 1968 movie Rosemary’s Baby, the models walked out in pretty pink gingham checks – slim dresses or tailored shorts worn with clearly bare breasts underneath.
The mix of innocence and lust sent out a strong message with a whiff of decadence – but with perfectly lovely clothes.
“Rosemary’s Baby, Barry Lyndon – it’s the idea of a sinister and undone prettiness and romance; ill-fated, doomed love,” said the designer. Yet this gripping collection never seemed overwrought.
It opened with the denim used for sharply tailored pieces, the Princess Grace up-do as prim as could be, whether with a fine gauge sweater with shirt and skirt, or a dress that opened subtly to the thighs.
To checks were added stripes, cut precisely in blocks at different angles, whereas a ginger leather belt or soft suede jacket toyed with sensuality, grounded by a North African vibe.
The collection had clearly drawn sections, which seemed to become more intensely fetishistic as a lattice of leather caged the body, or when pearls edged black lace dresses – again mixing the new and the romantic.
In London, Christopher Kane has played with the innocence/sexuality of gingham, and Simone Rocha has made pearl edging her signature.
But Altuzarra made this collection his own, adding Barry Lyndon historicism in a romantic way. It was a long stride from the sportswear revival of the current Summer 2015 season, but diversity is the spice of fashion – and this was a compelling show.