Marina and Joseph Altuzarra go way back. In fact, their earliest memories involve Marina viewing Joseph’s collection when he was starting out nearly 15 years ago, and receiving him at the Style.com offices. Fast forward to today and the two remain good friends and supporters of one another as the industry around them continues to evolve. To celebrate that enduring friendship, the two joined forces to describe what Joseph asked to be “the sexiest shoe ever.” The new limited-edition silhouette is just that—made for the Altuzarra woman while still retaining the Larroudé DNA that has become a signature of the brand. Here, the two sat down to discuss the partnership and reflect on their most enduring memories of a decade plus in the industry together.
Marina: I’m so excited, I am here with my friend Joseph today. I’ve been waiting for this collab for three years and it’s finally here, we made a shoe together! I am such a fan of Joseph and he challenged us to make the chicest, sexiest, pump ever, and I have to say this is the first time we are doing a slingback pump. So proud of it, and it's super sexy, has the Altuzarra buckle on the side, this crazy sexy heel and then the black sole. It also comes in silver specchio and black kid skin leather, and I have Joseph here in the showroom.
Joseph: Hi guys! Thank you for having me, I am so excited.
Marina: Oh my God, we go a long way back.
Joseph: We do!
Marina: Do you remember how long ago?
Joseph: Honestly, I don’t remember. I remember meeting you really really early on when you were still at Style.com, a long time ago, and I remember you coming to the showroom. You were probably one of the first people that I saw on the street wearing my clothes.
Marina: Over ten years for sure.
Joseph: More than ten years!
Marina: Oh yes, maybe fifteen by now! You know what is crazy? I love Joseph's clothes and I think I have been ordering them ever since his first collections. I have the peacoats from every season and I love and adore them. Have I ever told you the story about the green tie dye dress?
Marina: So I call the green tie-dye dress my lucky dress. I was very excited and I was interviewing for the job at Barneys, so I wore that dress for my interview. But the interview process at Barneys took around six months. Years later, I am talking to the Assistant Merchant at Barneys and I am telling her how I want to do a tie-dye capsule collection with you for Barneys. She said“Yeah, I noticed that you loved that dress you wore to an interview twice with me” . So I was literally applying for a fashion director job and I met the woman and I came wearing the same dress twice!
Joseph: Oh, I love that! That's real passion.
Marina: So I was like, see, it’s my lucky dress!
Joseph:And I can say, you are always on our mood boards. When we put together a mood board of who the woman is, there is always a picture of you.
Marina: Oh My God, sorry guys. I know I’m bragging over here, but I met the president wearing your clothes. And in one of my biggest career moments, we got the Footwear News“Launch of the Year” award and Joseph presented the award to me!
Joseph: It’s true!
Marina: Okay, so let’s talk about the collab.
Joseph: I am really so in love with these! I have to say, when we started talking about this, we loved the idea of doing something that felt really iconic and also felt different than what you had done before. Even as an object, I think it's kind of incredible: the heel, the sole, this line. I know people know theoretically that everything is the work of a few millimeters but really working on how that sort of frames your foot and the back, there is something so beautiful about it. It still really retains your DNA of what you stand for and also feels just so Altuzarra, which I just think is so special.
Marina: I couldn’t agree more! You were like, ok this is where I want to go, and I think the result looks gorgeous.
Joseph: And I think there's something really exciting about creating something that feels like it's not necessarily for everyone, like there’s something really sophisticated, very niche about it that you really can’t find that many places.
Marina: I agree. It’s a very special fashion, collectible piece that you can wear forever and I think that's the goal is to create something that’s unique but still is classic enough that you can always go back to it.
Joseph: Totally! I am just really excited for people to be able to get their hands on these.
Marina: Same! I am super excited, and we had a bunch of celebrity requests!
Joseph: Love that!
Marina: So you’ll see them everywhere!
Marina: Ah! Thank you so much!
Joseph: Thank YOU!
Marina: Guys, go online, shop the collection! I have to say we ordered very limited stock, so they will sell out very quickly.
Quickfire Questions with Joseph:
What is your first Fashion Week memory?
My first show, it was really a seminal moment in my career. It was in this small gallery called the Andrew Kreps Gallery in Chelsea and it was one of those amazing moments because I didn't really know anyone. I was having the show off-calendar, I literally think I paid $500 and paid the gallerist in clothes. I had someone help me put lightbulbs on the ceiling, we had a boombox in the corner playing the soundtrack. We had no seating, we just had models coming out of the office area. My mom made cookies for everyone backstage and it was just one of those very small familial moments. When I came out after the show it was this sea of people—CNN and The New York Times, and Virgina and the Vogue Team and I just remember this incredible feeling of gratitude and feeling like this was a real pinch me-moment. I’ve had a lot of magical moments in fashion, but that was really the first.
Who was your first style icon?
I have very vivid memories of my mom getting dressed in the morning, and I still think to this day a lot of my creative process and a lot of my aesthetic is built around her sartorial style. She wore a lot of Armani pencil skirt suits. And, Caroline Roitfeld, one of the first people who really championed me in the industry. She was kind of my fashion godmother when I started, she wore Altuzarra- we need to send her a pump!
Worst fashion trend of all time?
Worst macrotrend, disposable fashion. It does terrible things for the planet, it makes clothes feel disposable and cheapens the idea of self expression. I think being more responsible in our consumption is really important, and having iconic things in your wardrobe that you can always go back to is really important—not things that you are going to wear for a couple months and throw away.
Worst microtrend trend that I don't love, the cycling short for going out. I know people love it, don't hate me!
Top wardrobe piece every woman should have in their closet?
A slingback pump, and a great black blazer. If I would say you should invest somewhere, it should be in tailoring, cheap tailoring always looks cheap. If you can put a little more money towards a great tailored piece I think it can make a huge difference.
What was your favorite look from your last collection?
It was this red satin coat and it was over this bubble satin bronze dress and it was a really unexpected look. We put it together really really late, like probably the day before the show and I was like, oh my god, I can’t believe we didn't try this together. It's such a cool look. It's become editorially something people are really into.
What task could you do for hours and not get bored?
Reading, for sure! I can do it for hours and hours.
How many books do you read a week?
I do read a lot but I probably read three books a month. Always fiction, I’m reading Stephen King now. I really have felt for a number of years that there are so few opportunities now that force you to use your imagination. Like, you watch TV, movies, you are fed advertising imagery, you go on social media. Everything is pre-packaged for you and you don't really have to use your imagination that much. I've found that when I exercise that creative muscle through reading and I’ve had to imagine what things looked like, what a character looks like, what a room looks like when it's described, I actually felt myself becoming more creative.
Do you have a nickname?
When I was a teenager I wanted to be a pop star really badly. My stage name was Zeffo Zarra and so my family calls me that as a joke.
What do you do on your days off?
I run after two kids, most of the time, and horseback riding is my big thing!
Best restaurant in New York?
Favorite restaurant in the Hamptons?
The East Hampton Grill. I love a steakhouse.
Best area of the city?
Recently, I’ve really discovered the Upper East Side and I like it! I don’t know if it's because I am forty now and I’ve graduated.
Favorite book that you have read this year and recommend?
Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin, I have probably gifted it ten times.