Altuzarra

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We're coming up on the 20-year anniversary of Marc Jacobs' grunge collection, the one that got him fired from Perry Ellis before it turned him into an icon. At Joseph Altuzarra's persuasive Fall show tonight, the plaid dresses with the fraying edges, the slouchy brown cardigan, and the army parkas of the first few looks seemed like flashbacks to that seminal moment. But Jacobs wasn't the only nineties darling to influence Altuzarra this season. There were shades of John Galliano in the bias-cut silk slipdresses cinched with D-rings. "It started with the idea of not having to think so much about clothes," the designer said backstage, and it's true—this was a 180 from the daring cone-busted sheaths and hyper-precise tailoring of his last collection. "I wanted something longer and looser, something sensual and feminine, but utilitarian at the same time," he said. The pictures that inspired him: old photos of Kate Moss wearing parkas over her evening dresses, in the days when her accessory of choice was Johnny Depp.

Altuzarra's preoccupation with the nineties puts him smack in the middle of things in these early days of the Fall 2011 season. And his interest in coats—there was one great example after another, from those parkas with their furry hoods to tailored tweed trenches to a bomber/cape hybrid that had people flashing back to his pal Alexander Wang's equally outerwear-focused show a few hours before—will make him very popular with retailers. All that and a pair of showstopping T-shirt dresses dripping in metal fringe and beads, to boot. Girls are going to be thinking quite hard indeed about how to get these clothes into their closets.
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