Joseph Altuzarra: 10 Things I Hate About You Helped Me Find My Calling

Joseph Altuzarra
Photo: Ogata

Award-winning designer and Out100 honoree Joseph Altuzarra sits down with Surface magazine's March issue, gracing the cover of the design-oriented magazine. In his cover interview, Paris-born Altuzarra talks about his decision to move to America, and gives exclusive details on his "magical" engagement to husband Seth Weissman.

Here, our favorite excerpts from the story.

He once flaked on Anna Wintour, yet still remains in her favor:

“I was supposed to meet and present my collection to her the day after flying from Paris to New York, but the airline lost everything. She was gracious about rescheduling and has been an incredible supporter ever since. She called and got us into places like Barneys and Dover Street Market and really helped to launch the Altuzarra brand.”

Altuzarra decided to attend Swarthmore College in the United States for a super nerdy reason:

“I happened to see the film 10 Things I Hate About You [1999] in which the star ends up at Sarah Lawrence College. I looked it up online, and a box popped up saying, ‘If you like this school, you’ll also like Swarthmore, Amherst, Williams, Brown, and Haverford…’ It was an incredible experience, as it was the first time I found my community—I was always nerdy in high school, and I finally felt free and surrounded by people like me.”

The never-before-published details of his engagement to Seth Weissman are real-life #relationshipgoals:

“Every Saturday morning we walk our dog, Bean, and one of us goes for coffee and the newspapers. On this particular Saturday, Seth went out, changed into a tuxedo, and put a 'Will you marry me?' collar on the dog. I said yes, of course, and was greeted by the Swarthmore a cappella group singing 'A Whole New World.' From there we went to Soho House for a surprise engagement brunch for 100 friends. The entire day was spectacular.”

On his collaboration with the New York City Ballet:

“That collaboration came about through a summer share in Fire Island several years ago. My husband and I were in a house with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, who was working with the New York City Ballet at the time. I’ve always loved ballet and studied dance throughout my childhood, so when he asked if I might be interested in designing costumes I jumped at the chance. I went to all of the rehearsals and saw the choreography in progress, and we came up with a very American, casual look for this piece, one that was all about light, flirty garments that would highlight the movement of the dancers.”

Altuzarra has a few favorite films that provide ongoing inspiration for his designs:

“One film that was particularly important was Si Versailles m’était conté [Royal Affairs in Versailles, 1957]. I watched this sprawling epic about life at Versailles over and over again, and the campy evolution of the costumes fascinated me. I also loved anything with Audrey Hepburn— Sabrina [1954] was a favorite—and tended toward less mainstream films as a teenager. Orlando [1992] had a huge effect on me because it was more ambiguous in its narrative.”

Surface cover

Read the full interview in the March Spring Fashion issue of Surface magazine (issue 126), on newsstands now and at SurfaceMag.com

Photo: Ogata, courtesy of Surface

Tags: Fashion

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