Altuzarra's printed matter
The roots of the designer’s most inspired prints

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For New York designer Joseph Altuzarra, 2011 recipient of the Vogue/CFDA Annual Fund Award, prints are often key to his collections. Along with his penchant for embroidery and embellishments, Altuzarra's use of print on everything from coats to pencil skirts (think of that Ikat print dress from his Resort 13 collection, or Fall 11's grunge-inspired plaids) has come to represent the young designer's adventurous nature. With insight from the team at Altuzarra, SSENSE looks at the origins and inspirations that gave rise to some of his most noteworthy prints.

Spring 2012 /
Back in Spring 12, Altuzarra did the improbable when he updated the classic Hawaiian shirt and made it chic. The print, created in-house, featured images of hibiscus flowers, lilies, leafy greenery, finches and parrots, all in hyper-primal colors. The landscape is close to home for Joseph Altuzarra, who has fond memories of bird watching with his grandmother during summers spent in California as a child.
Fall 12 /
Altuzarra took his woman through the souks of Marrakesh when creating his print for Fall 2012. Reworking traditional hand-woven motifs of Moroccan rugs and Berber tapestry in jacquard lent an air of tribal luxury to the collection, while fringing on the sweaters was meant to replicate a carpet effect.
Resort 13 /
Altuzarra continued to explore the culture of nomadic people when venturing into his second resort collection. Trekking further into the heart of the African Safari, the print employed in his Resort collection was said to be inspired by the Masaai tribes. Altuzarra stayed true to the traditional pigments, including prints in cerulean blue and vermillion red, but integrated a symmetry in the traditional intarsia formatting, creating his own version of new age tribalism.
Spring 13 /
Built on the concept of decorative embellishments found in vintage jewelry, Altuzarra looked to the American naturalist art movement of the 1940’s to create this print for the SS13 season. Inspired by an image of California artist Bob Winston’s 'Bracelet with Nest, Three Eggs and Large Turquoise' from 1948, Altuzarra adapted the abstract shapes of the bracelet with refined contrast colors like red, yellow, white, and black on silk twill, silk, and canvas giving digital printing a modern vintage appeal. 

From left: SS12 tropical print, AW12 jacquard blanket print, R13 Ikat print, SS13 Art Deco print.