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Lots of buzz and celebrity interest at Altuzarra

Associated Press Modified: September 9, 2012 at 10:17 am •  Published: September 9, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — It was a rainy Saturday night in Manhattan, and getting a taxi was murder. But fashionistas lined up patiently under umbrellas, undeterred, to catch one of the most buzz-worthy spring previews of Fashion Week: that of rising star Joseph Altuzarra.

Inside the Industria Superstudio in the chic meatpacking district, the excitement was palpable. Actress Kate Bosworth, a big Altuzarra fan, kissed acquaintances and greeted Mamie Gummer, the actress daughter of Meryl Streep. The NBA's Tyson Chandler posed for photos not far from actress Jessica Chastain.

The looks that greeted them on the runway were a combination of the very casual — navy-and white striped cotton jackets and overcoats, for example, evoking kids' overalls — and the glamorous, in the form of gold fringes on everything from skirts to tanks, and crystal-encrusted garments like dramatic scarves draped high around the neck. Workday looks of simple cotton graduated to looks that suddenly shimmered and glistened under the lights, occasionally perhaps a bit blindingly.

The footwear made an equally dramatic statement, especially the knee-high snakeskin boots, or the gladiators in different shades of brown.

Bosworth loved what she saw.

"Brilliant," she said. "Modern, embellished, textured." She said she was a fan of the designer's capes, and also the garments studded with crystals. "I love how he dressed up a classic look like a blouse," she said.

Nina Garcia, the "Project Runway" judge, said she was particularly impressed by the tailoring skills of Altuzarra, who founded his label in 2008, and this year one a Council of Fashion Designers of America award for up and coming talent and has been on a steady upswing to fashion-world stardom.

"The tailoring was sublime — those jackets were cut perfectly," pronounced Garcia. "And I loved the unexpected mixes." For example, she mused, those crystals, paired with garments with a casual feel, gave the clothes a look that was both royal and bohemian at the same time.

Garcia is one of many who are waiting to see just how high Altuzarra, who was born in France and educated at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, will climb.

"He's going sky-high," she said. "A real original."