NEW YORK, United States — “This whole world’s wild at heart and weird on top.” Laura Dern’s line from David Lynch’s 1990 road pic Wild at Heart got Joseph Altuzarra thinking about the excitement of bad taste, cutting loose, not letting the parlous state of the world bring you down.
He wanted something “happy, vivid, fun” from his new collection. Even if the cross-country flight of lovers Sailor and Lula in the movie isn’t particularly happy, its freewheeling mood was what mattered to Altuzarra. He liked the recklessness. And the runaway couple’s dress sense was his inspiration.
Sailor’s python jacket loaned the print on a cropped jean jacket, a denim pencil skirt and a dress in silk crepe de chine that slithered sensually round the body. Lula’s favourite hot pink coloured a twinset. Her sweet cherry print became a major motif in the collection, in a flounced skirt and matching bra, in the embroidery on a black cocktail dress or python coat, in the patterned stockings.
Altuzarra didn’t stop with cherries. There was blueberry and blackberry beading on a black tulle evening dress, lemons and pineapples all over another gown in blue organza. “I thought the fruit was really funny,” he said innocently. There were flowers too, particularly a poppy print inspired by a recent trip to Dallas.
As Diana Vreeland so memorably said, “a little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika.”
It all sounds as sweet as the tiny candy-like flowers embroidered on a sheer organza shift but, as Diana Vreeland so memorably said, “a little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika.” That sweet organza dress was bowed in black leather. And Altuzarra’s collection hummed with the crass allure of wild child Lula.
As Elvis crooned Crawfish on the soundtrack, the models glistened like Southern belles in heat. It’s Altuzarra’s art to balance the bad girl and the belle, the sexy pencil skirt and the gingham shirt dress. And he just gets better at it.