09/08/2013 09:32 EDT | Updated 11/08/2013 05:12 EST

Layers, fringe and drawstring skirts: Altuzarra offers easy sensuality for spring

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Joseph Altuzarra, his mother and grandmother nearby backstage, offered this message for the woman he dresses: Relax this spring.

With an emphasis on "woman," as opposed to girl.

"I love the shape of the average woman's body and that's why I always say woman and not girl," the 30-year-old explained in an interview Saturday night after rolling out shimmery silvers and golds for evening, layered Oxford shirting for day and a range of silks shown at a downtown space, far from the Lincoln Center tents.

Altuzarra's woman isn't afraid of his high-slit dresses and skirts, long fringe on a white leather jacket and skirts or white wool ponchos as he left behind some of the structure and aggressiveness of collections past.

This collection lends his brand an easy elegance, but his customer remains the same.

"She's someone who's quite sensual and is very in touch with her femininity, her sexuality," Altuzarra said. "I actually prefer dressing a woman as opposed to a young girl."

Inspired in part by the patchwork of traditional Japanese Boro clothing for farmers and fisherman, he took his woman to the idea of utilitarian grace — in red and blue silk stripes, cotton jackets and blouses, and drawstring skirts.

He gave her the go-ahead for multiple layers and draping, including draping that bulges at the waist. And he gave her burnished gold and silver tanks, jersey Henley bodysuits and black wool blazers

"I think there's a beauty to how clothes live in real life," Altuzarra said. "I hope that customers would say, 'I could wear that with a skirt or a pair of jeans, or my own jackets. Last season there was a certain strictness in the way she was showing her leg through her slit. This season everything is sort of flying away in a more lyrical and much more sensual way."

Did he achieve his goal of easy, feminine style for the rest of us? Nina Garcia, fashion director for Marie Claire, thinks yes.

"I think that a lot of designers design for girls or for models," she said. "They design clothes that are unwearable for regular women, that are either too short or too revealing or too something. I think he as a designer likes to design for a woman who's a woman. She might be 40, she might be 50, she might even be 60, but she looks fantastic."


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