"Loulou had told friends she wanted to look like a summer's night sky in Marrakech. She was ravishing, like a figure from an Indian miniature, wrapped in an acre of midnight-blue chiffon shot with gold, bangles up and down her arms, teetering in a pair of high silver heels. She had a large glittering crescent moon pinned to her head and a huge star on her ear. She had made the star and moon herself that afternoon from cardboard, glue and diamante."
This is an evocative description of the infamous muse of Yves Saint Laurent, Loulou de la Falaise's outfit at her wedding ball held on an atmospheric island in Bois de Boulogne in 1977, to celebrate her union with the dashing Thadée Klossowski. It was this specific passage along with accompanying imagery from Alicia Drake's The Beautiful Fall book (Have you read it? If not, WHY NOT?!), which immediately came to mind when I was looking back at the final passage of the Altuzarra S/S 13 show. Miles and miles of silk scarves in that exact shade of midnight Marrakech sky blue as well as glowing olive and striped cream were artfully wrapped and twisted into one-piece evening dresses, dripping with gold chain fringing and again, "shot" with gold sequin embroidery in fan and sun motifs. It was a decadent moment, which bucked the "keep it clean, keep it wearable" modus operandi of NYFW. Loulou, a bona fide bohemian spirit, would probably have approved the more-is-more attitude that Altuzarra applied to those finale pieces that dripped with untouchable expense. I say that's a good thing. Waving the flag for the democratic, the affordable and the accessible is all well and good but give me something that deserves to be shockingly priced and outrageously out of people's reaches and I'll gladly appreciate it from afar. This was a dreamer's passage in a show, where I was imagining what it would be like to wear fabrics that "drip" with gold and can only be described as "sumptuous" (an odious word to describe a meal, but much better when applied to fabrics, no?) and channel a little of the muse that was once described as "the Marchesa Casati held together by gold thread.”
Still, if we must be brought back down to earth then Altuzarra's opening section in his S/S 13 show was in stark contrast to all that wrapped keffiyah-esque silk, crystals and sparkles. Railroad stripes, which I vaguely remember from an overall I wore at nursery school, were resuscitated and reimagined as on-the-shoulder outerwear and matching skirt ensembles, paired with a strange play on Thomas Pink-esque City ladies shirts. They came cleverly branded with a tongue-in-cheek faux heritage label bearing Altuzarra's name. It's a sensible counterpart to all that jazz at the end that manages not to bore.