New York-based designer Joseph Altuzarra has taken the spotlight in L.A. this week, co-hosting an Emmys kick-off party, and designing the interior of the green room where stars will hang out backstage during the awards show Sunday night.
It’s the latest in a series of exciting developments for Altuzarra, 30, whose signature, sexy slit skirts and dresses have been worn by Kate Upton, Nicole Kidman, Carine Roitfeld and others.
It was recently announced that Kering, the European luxury conglomerate that owns Gucci Group and built Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen into global brands, bought a minority stake in his company. Then, his spring-summer 2014 collection, inspired by Japanese boro workwear, emerged as the hit of New York Fashion Week.
I sat down with him for breakfast in L.A. on Tuesday to talk about his love of food trucks, television, and his design process.
Have you spent a lot of time in L.A.?
I went to Swarthmore but took a semester off and went to Pomona. So I was here for six months as a college student. It was because I was from France and was going to school in the U.S. already, so I was sort of abroad. I had never lived on the West Coast before, so I decided to do that. And I loved it so much, I actually tried to transfer. I also have a lot of family in San Francisco.
What was your first fashion memory?
My early relationship with fashion was very personal. I was a very awkward teenager, and I felt there was a Pygmalion quality to clothing and fashion. I really felt if I could have the right clothes, I would be popular. It wasn’t until later in my teens that I became interested in fashion with a capital “F.”
Do you still feel that way about fashion, that it has a Pygmalion quality?
Even though you do grow out of that phase where you feel wearing a certain thing is going to make you look cool, clothing can still make you feel good. But as much as it’s about the cut, fabric or style, it’s also about the attitude with which you wear something. You can wear a white T-shirt and jeans and be the sexiest person alive if you have the attitude.
How did this partnership with Audi at the Emmys come about? And I hope you got a car out of the deal!
We got a loaner. I don’t know how to drive, but I’m learning. They’ve been really great partners. They approached us and we really loved the idea. It’s not something we’ve ever done before, so it’s was a creative challenge. I also love television, so of course I was interested in doing something for the Emmys.
What are your favorite shows?
I watch everything.
Did you watch 'The Killing?'
It’s been canceled.
No, it was canceled before.