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Altuzarra Pre-Fall 2014: Bold, Playful and Utterly Relaxed

The designer looked to his Spring 2014 collection for his first-ever Pre-Fall outing -- further exploring the notions of ease and nonchalance. But he also got unexpectedly playful, too, most notably in the form of zingy plaid.

For Joseph Altuzarra's first Pre-Fall collection, the designer looked to the past. Albeit the very recent past: Spring 2014, to be exact.

During the small presentation, Altuzarra explained that he really wanted to further explore and expand upon ideas put forth in that show (hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it, right?) -- specifically the notion of ease and nonchalance.

Those qualities were most evident in some of the outerwear pieces -- a cozy-looking wrap coat and a cape-like number with bell sleeves, rendered in a soft beige that read as very rich lady in Aspen. Both were styled with easy, throw-on separates that were stripped of the designer's usual bells and whistles, like an orange knit top and relaxed gray trousers. These surprisingly relatable pieces prompted you to think, "Oh, I might already have that in my closet!"

Shirting was back, too, but this time around the designer spliced the pinstripes with insets of a vibrant plaid -- a print he found in LA that dates back to the 1930s (no matter, it looked jaunty and modern in his hands). The motif popped up throughout the collection -- a scarf here, a skirt there, and a presentation-stopping sheath dress over on center stage, which was blocked with two variations of the pattern. And the tartan mules were just...zing!

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As if the buzzing plaid weren't enough of a statement, there were also saturated hits of bright red and vivid cobalt. The unusually bold color palette could be chalked up to the designer's current fixation on sapeurs-pompiers: "I was really obsessed with French firemen," he explained. The crimson worked most beautifully on a streamlined coat, one so strikingly elegant it will most likely end up on many women's wish lists.

While the Altuzarra woman has definitely softened as of late, there was still plenty there for fans of his signature sex appeal (muse and early champion Carine Roitfeld needs to be able to pick out a few pieces, right?). Strong shoulders, clingy sheaths and snug pencil skirts with slits up to there -- seriously, why has no one started a Twitter handle called "AltuzarraModelsLeftLeg"? -- remained in tact. Although, regarding the latter, we were most taken by slouchy, A-line iterations with chiffon insets. So. Damn. Cool.

One more thing: For those who fell in love with his pea coats from Fall 2012, get ready for a need-it-now swingy cropped version, along with riffs on classic blazers that were deftly tailored and adorned with gold buttons. Preppy, classic and wearable, these summed up the collection's sentiments nicely.

See the full collection in the slideshow below.

Photos: Courtesy