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September 30, 2015

Scene and Heard: Joseph Altuzarra

“I had been doing research and a lot of thinking about aspects [of braids] that felt American, and bull riding came into mind,” said designer Joseph Altuzarra at the luncheon launch party for his new leather line at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills on Thursday, March 24. “When I found out about bull ropes, I thought they were so beautiful as objects, and that was really a starting point for the collection.” Days after his spring show in New York, Altuzarra packed his bags (literally) for Beverly Hills where actress Zoe Saldana and stylist Petra Flannery cohosted a luncheon to launch the designer’s new leather saddle bags and hobo designs. The two styles have a relaxed look, yet enough structure to pair well with fall collections. Each incorporates woven braids and elements inspired by the ropes cowboys grip with their riding hand. While in town, Altuzarra sat down to chat about the new accessories.

How do you envision each bag being worn and what would you pair with each? The attitudes of the bags were really important. I wanted them to feel easy and sophisticated, and move sensually. I love pairing the bags with some fall textures for winter: A wool peacoat or a blazer. The bag adds a touch a folklore, while staying sophisticated.

Is there a particular look here on the West Coast that lends itself to a certain bag? I can perfectly imagine a woman carrying the hobo in the crook of her arm with jeans and a sweater to go to lunch, but I also can see a women carrying the saddle bag from a day at the office to a cocktail party.

Tell us about your decision to use a neutral palette. For the first season, I wanted to really focus on the shapes and the materials, and I felt like starting with classic colors.

By Elizabeth Varnell


Pictured: Joseph Altuzarra and Zoe Saldana
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Barneys New York​

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