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Behind the Scenes in Paris with Joseph Altuzarra

It was now Thursday morning at the Altuzarra offices off the Champs-Élysées. The designer, working from his new showroom there, projected a focused calm, yet there was a sense of urgency in the air. The show was two days away, and the casting and order of looks was only finalized the night before. His father, Philippe Altuzarra, was seated at a table, looking on as Altuzarra and the stylist Vanessa Traina discussed one of the show’s final looks, a shimmering gold-sequined gown with an elaborately beaded bustier. The collection was drawing on artisanal handicrafts from around the globe, and man’s relationship to nature, with the animated film “Princess Mononoke and Charles Freger’s “Wilder Mann,” a photography book of ancient agricultural rites, serving as early inspiration points. “We wanted it to feel quite multicultural. That’s a really big brand pillar,” said Altuzarra, holding up a vest adorned with a row of Spanish-style pompoms.

Saturday morning back at the Lycée Janson de Sailly, workers were setting up lights around the courtyard’s perimeter, while Altuzarra and a small team were there with two models to shoot some looks from the collection with the photographer Charles Freger. “I’d been a fan of his work for a while — and then of course there was the inspiration for this season. We reached out when we knew we’d be in Paris, and he was up for it,” Altuzarra said, observing the shoot. The show was eight hours away, and there was still much to do, but for the moment, he was relaxed and smiling again, perhaps e because despite talk of rain, the skies looked clear for the night.

By evening, Altuzarra was buzzing around the upstairs dressing area, which was teeming with models, makeup and hair artists, dressers and photographers. Kering’s C.E.O., François-Henri Pinault, and his wife, the actress Salma Hayek, arrived to wish him luck. They chatted, but only briefly, as the show was about to start. In 12 minutes, it…

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