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Altuzarra Unveils First Handbag Collection at Fashion Week

It accompanied a sophisticated showing of fall ready-to-wear.
The finale at Altuzarra's fall 2015 runway show. Photo: Imaxtree

The finale at Altuzarra's fall 2015 runway show. Photo: Imaxtree

It took a year for Christopher Kane to release his first handbag line after Kering took a majority stake in his company, and Joseph Altuzarra — who sold a minority stake in his eponymous label to the luxury conglomerate in September 2013 — appears to be on a similar schedule, revealing his first bag collection, dubbed "Notch," at his fall 2015 collection showing on Saturday evening.

The bags, in black, orange and brown leather, as well as navy and burgundy crocodile, came in two styles: a large hobo with a short handle, suitable for carrying a stack of papers and perhaps even a Macbook Air, and a smaller, saddle-shaped shoulder bag, which brought to mind Chloe's popular "Marcie" bag. Both styles were decorated with tassels, braided straps and gold hardware and, on two occasions, studs. Altuzarra seems to have a knack for handbags (as he does for shoes), and I have a feeling his will perform much better at retail than Kane's plainer leather bags with the safety belt clasps.

Attractive though the bags were, the ready-to-wear was still the star of Altuzarra's show. Dandies and Truman Capote's swans — two groups with a mutual love of dressing up — were the starting points for the collection, which opened with a daring pair of golden fox fur collars affixed to a boxy white jacket and brown houndstooth coat, respectively. Altuzarra continued to play up his signature slit skirts, but many of the skirts were, refreshingly, longer, flaring mid-calf over tall studded boots in black or burgundy leather. They were paired with another Altuzarra favorite, shirting, which borrowed from the dandies' selection of tall ruffled collars. 

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Showgoers seemed particularly taken with the furs, namely the '80s-inspired fox coats in pale pink and blue, but it was the evening dresses — in navy, pale blue and burgundy chiffon with gold sequin embroidery — that were really exceptional, with deep-V necks made modest with white lace shirtfronts and high ruffled necks that matched the shirting. It's been a long time since we've seen such an original idea for an evening dress.