Profile: Joseph Altuzarra, Designer
Fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra is undoubtedly a fresh face on the runways of New York and Paris, but his vision and imagination speak volumes.
The 2011 CFDA/Vogue award winner for women’s wear was born and raised in Paris by a French father and Chinese-American mother. His name, “Altuzarra,” translates to “old man on the mountain,” and in a short time, his accomplishments are many.
“I was really nerdy and kind of unpopular in school, and I felt like clothing could have a transformative effect on my life,” he told Out magazine after being named to the magazine’s Out100 last year.
He came to the United States to study art and art history at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, but his passion for the fashion world drew him to Manhattan after graduation.
He interned at Marc Jacobs Studio and worked as a designer at Proenza Schouler before returning to Paris to complement his training with Riccardo Tisci.
In 2008, at the age of 25, he returned to New York, ready to launch his own line, Altuzarra, producing flattering, body-conscious and feminine collections.
The middle of a recession might not have been the optimal time to launch a new business, but Altuzarra could not pass up the opportunity.
“We’re surrounded by new ideas, new media, and technology,” he said in a recent interview with Elle Decor. “For a young designer, it’s a very exciting time.”
But real women, he says, are his muses: “I don’t think I am influenced by places as much as I am inspired by women. Women are different everywhere, but the women I dress today all share one thing in common: They all have fast-paced, busy lives, but they still want to look beautiful and put together.”
And, as long as there are women, he’s going to be busy, too.