A quartet of Joseph Altuzarra’s own watercolor illustrations were printed as postcards and delivered as the invitation to his Spring show. The miniature paintings provided clues to his new collection: its references and its mood. Like his Resort offering, this outing took its cues from the Mediterranean: Altuzarra’s family has a home in Italy and he’s fond of films evocative of the region like Cinema ParadisoStealing Beauty, and Call Me by Your Name. Those movies, in particular the latter two, captured a certain sensual repose, and that was very much the spirit he was after with these new clothes. “I wanted the collection to feel happy, optimistic, colorful,” he said beforehand.

The summertime escape, as it’s fantasized and as it’s lived, has become central to this season’s story. With their zesty palette and skin-revealing shapes, these clothes were definitely pitched to sunny holidays. First: the bikini tops, which he showed as part of matching sets that included cropped and fitted jackets and skirts with his thigh-baring signature slits. Second: the crochet separates and dresses, a pair of which he decorated with thousands of little shells that shimmied and jangled as the models wove their way around the Hôtel Potocki. For evening, he translated the abstract florals of the bikini looks into three-dimensional paillette-embroidered dresses or separates that exposed the midriff. Even the suits, which he cut from gingham-print jersey, had an undone attitude.

You could understand why Altuzarra went so far in this direction. But his clients’ true natural habitat is the city and its attendant obligations: the office, after-work events. There were suggestions here and there, like the knit tunic and knit pant combinations, but it would’ve been satisfying to see more of what Altuzarra has in mind for her to wear when she’s not on vacation.

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