Altuzarra’s NYFW SS23 Collection Is Tripping

Joseph Altuzarra takes us on a mind-bending journey through the dessert.

In the industrial cocoon of the Starrett-Lehigh building, Altuzarra’s Spring/Summer collection tells the story of a desert-inspired psychedelic awakening.

The French-American designer pays homage to human imagination through stunning surprises like embroidered bells and glimmering lamé. Referencing the chaos of our current world, the collection draws upon The Teachings of Don Juan and Desert Solitaire, two canonic tributes to the desert written in the famously tumultuous 1968.

Altuzarra’s collection opens with an expression of pragmatism, relaunching the parka central to the label’s early years. Muted, cool tones play with desert-like oranges in asymmetrical blazers, neon Keds, and striking collars. The effect is sporty and unexpected, with earthy elements to ground it all.

Like any good psychedelic experience, this desert trip emphasizes the details we otherwise miss. The show progresses with looks that feature prominent zippers, visible tapes, and metallic studs, laying bare the structures that hold each garment together. These pieces evoke the desert’s barren landscape and remind us of the tension between utility and fantasy.

Soon, the collection explodes into technicolored euphoria. The ancient Japanese craft of Shibori tie-dye intermingles with embellished charms and electric prints, composing a symphony of pigment, texture, and depth. In one look, a ribboned A-line dress bounces indigo hues against Altuzarra’s first canvas Weekender bag, which features understated maroon shadows and cable straps. The dress’s vertical pleats cross-cut the bag’s horizontal tie-dye pattern, adding linear qualities to an organic silhouette.

 Gradually, the collection pares down its layers and draperies to emphasize the female form. With Shibori tie-dye still in the spotlight, Altuzarra presents garments that hug the body and cinch at the waist, a stark departure from the collection’s loose blazers. Triangular cutouts draw the eye to the center of each piece and create an elongating effect that feels raw and elegant. This portion of the show is a breath of fresh air, in which tightly ribbed fabric clings effortlessly to the models like second skin.

Altuzarra ends with a bang by synthesizing the distinct themes of this collection. The show’s pièce de résistance is a reprise of the iconic parka, this time adorned in tie-dye galore. No expense is spared in the exquisite button-work and hypnotic patterns that dance between intricate stitching and feathered neckpieces. Gleaming bangles and spherical beads radiate across the outerwear, gesturing toward the brilliant desert sun.


This grand finale lauds the arid landscape of the desert as a natural masterpiece, an environmental work of art that breathes life into Altuzarra’s vision. The surreal garments that close the show are flowy and fluffy but profoundly refined. They act as the perfect capstone to a psychedelic experience, especially one with such artful twists and turns.

Altuzarra’s contribution to this season is a thought-provoking look at the relationship between the mind and the world. The result is extraordinary – a trip like no other.

Discover More