Joseph Altuzarra is the one at the forefront of modern sportswear. As the 2014 recipient of Women’s Wear Designer of the Year, Altuzarra has perfected the look that every girl wants: modern and sexy all wrapped up in practicality. Born in Paris to a Chinese American mother and a French father, the designer spent most of his youth studying ballet. He moved to America to attend Swarthmore College and got his first big break in fashion as an intern for Marc Jacobs in 2004. Afterwards, he continued to work in fashion under Proenza Schouler, Rochas, and Givenchy. In 2009, he debuted his first collection on the runway to critical success and has never stopped building steam.
Altuzarra credits much of his influences to his multicultural upbringing, both from the intersection of cultures born into as well as the geographical span he’s reached. Now based in New York, Altuzarra has configured all of these cultural influences into a sharp perspective that keeps an eye on tailoring and taste levels, pushing both elements to their most extremes and yet remaining still absolutely wearable. Perhaps the most notable aspect of Altuzarra’s work comes from the utter pragmatism of his clothing. Altuzarra keeps his designs at bay, remembering that first and foremost clothing must accomodate the woman’s body instead of the other way around.
(Altuzarra for Target)
I had the extreme fortune of being in the audience for a Q&A he did with Teen Vogue Fashion University. He was asked what was the most important piece of advice he had ever gotten as a designer. After thinking long, he said it was to remember that women wear bras. Really good designs make Altuzarra one of the most notable designers, but respect for women’s bodies and a culturally diverse viewpoint make Altuzarra one of the most admirable.