Beautiful People 2009: Joseph Altuzarra

by Mickey Boardman

"High-fashion wonder-boy Joseph Altuzarra is in no rush to get famous, although that doesn't mean he's been lazy about establishing himself as a designer-to-watch on the ever-emergent New York fashion scene. Since presenting a small collection by appointment at his studio for Spring '09, followed by a Fall '09 gallery presentation, Altuzarra has racked up major editorial coverage in Vogue (American and French), Elle and The Last Magazine, while his clothing has appeared on the backs of tastemakers such as Julia Restoin-Roitfeld and Vanessa Traina. Altuzarra is discerning about which retailers he works with, and has opted to focus on three of the most celebrated stores in the world -- Barneys in New York, Ikram in Chicago and Dover Street Market in London.

"Itaught myself patternmaking and I've always sketched," says Altuzarra, who grew up in Paris and graduated from Swarthmore College. After an internship with Marc Jacobs and a freelance gig at Proenza Schouler in New York, Altuzarra returned to Paris to work at Givenchy. Although he struggled with his lack of formal training -- "I had an inferiority complex, because all these other people had gone to fashion school and I hadn't" -- at Givenchy, Altuzarra met Coline Choay, who left Givenchy as the international public relations manager to help him launch his own business back in New York. The Fall collection features Altuzarra's signature complex seaming and immaculately fitted pants, and has generated a buzz that's got "overnight sensation" written all over it. But the designer remains humble and reflective: "You want to leave some mystery," he says with a smile. "I think it's OK to be rather unknown."

Joseph wears a T-shirt by Hugo by Hugo Boss, watch by Breil Milano and bracelet by Hermès. · Hair: Kiehl's Clean Hold Styling Gel


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