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Altuzarra’s Weave

altuzarraDigital printing is transforming a fashion designer’s impractical creations into mass-produced pieces, reports Ray A. Smith in The Wall Street Journal (5/1/14). When Joseph Altuzarra featured "four striking, colorful handwoven ensembles" at Fashion Week, he knew full well they would never be sold in stores. "The reality is they’re beautiful, but they’re quite thick," he says. "They’re a wool/silk woven piece, which is not the most comfortable for a dress." They also "would have cost customers at least $10,000 each." (image)

But Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus wanted them, and Altuzarra was ready with a solution: "He reimagined the looks using high-resolution digital prints. The result is three garments, two made with silk twill and one in stretch cotton, instead of the originals’ silk and wool." Sensing that "the handwoven pieces would resonate with retailers … his team developed the digital-print versions at the same time as the woven pieces." (image)

It’s actually a fairly standard practice among designers to show an impractical item and then offer a workable alternative. This was just fine with Ken. "When we found out the textural pieces were being recreated, we were very excited," he said, noting that the digital-print versions still had "that depth of texture and of the weave." The costs will be considerably lower, too — though still expensive — with the three Altuzarra items ranging in price from "$795 to $995." They will "arrive in stores in August and September."