There’s a ton of interesting stuff happening at Barneys right now. Carine Roitfeld’s styling gig and Daphne Guinness’ Met Ball windows are probably the most exciting. But we’re still very much enthralled with newly-anointed fashion director Amanda Brooks and how she’ll guide the store’s buy.
That’s why we were particularly excited to head over to the store-with-the-black-awnings for a casual breakfast chat between Brooks and Barneys’ favorite Joseph Altuzarra. Outfitted in the designer’s spring collection, Brooks asked Altuzarra all about inspiration, working with retailers, and why he doesn’t design with skinny models in mind. A few things we learned:
- On Inspiration: Joseph is inspired by working women. He said he began to establish his brand in his mind when he was watching modern Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton movies. (We’re not talking Annie Hall here, we’re talking Something’s Got to Give.) “I’m not a movie snob!” he says. “I think there’s been this really interesting…. Women today who are over 50 have a very different perception of their bodies and their roles than they did 30 years ago. I’m sure it’s hand-in-hand with the rise of going to the gym and plastic surgery and eating healthy. But I do think it’s very symbolic that actresses like Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep and Diane Lane are having these sort of comebacks.”
- On His Lowest Moment: Altuzarra says that sometimes reading negative comments on blogs really affects him. But at the same time, reading great reviews gives him a sort of high. It’s all relative.
- What’s Selling Well This Spring: “Knits have been doing very well. I know that the dress Amanda’s wearing is doing very well. In general on the retail floor, the pieces that do well are the stronger pieces. I understand why, because if I have to spend $700 on a black cashmere sweater I don’t know if I would buy it from me!”
- Why He’s Not Collaboration Crazy: “I’d rather incorporate lower priced pieces into the collection, which we’re already doing, instead of launching a completely different line or teaming up with someone,” he said. “Although we are doing a denim collection with Current Elliott for fall.”
- His Biggest Challenge as a Designer:“To make sure the collections as a whole are cohesive. I have a reaction to the last one…it can be challenging to think about bringing things from the past and folding them back into the collection. It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to do.”
Disclosure: This morning we were all treated to a fluro Joseph Altuzarra belt, which I’m kind of dying over.