The luxury designer launched his eponymous fashion house in 2008, and since then his star has only risen. Altuzarra is now a judge on Amazon Prime’s Making the Cut, and his pieces have become highly coveted: it’s not unusual to see the designer’s creations on the red carpet, and, often, his arm around the wearer’s—he designed Awkwafina’s Met Gala look, a floor-length gold gown, and in May was her guest to the party; most recently, he dressed and accompanied Vanessa Hudgens to the Tonys. Here, Altuzarra, whose spring-summer 2020 collection shows in Paris on September 28, shares the coming-of-age stories that he finds at once universal and relatable.

Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex is both a coming-of-age story and a family saga centering on a Greek family and Cal (or “Callie”), an intersex man reckoning with his personal history. Through Cal’s journey, Eugenides reflects on identity, gender, and societal norms. It is a moving and beautifully written novel that I have re-read many times.

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch is a powerful book that not only charts the personal odyssey of a fascinating character but also reflects on art, family, and morality. I love Tartt’s introspective writing, her flawed characters, and the fast pace of the narrative. It’s a thrilling and thought-provoking read.

The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst

This book explores love, sex, class, and beauty against the backdrop of the evolving attitudes toward the L.G.B.T.Q. community in London in the 1980s and the rise of the AIDS crisis. I love this book because it so perfectly encapsulates the feeling of wanting to fit in, and also of wanting to find yourself, something I think anyone can relate to.

Middlesex, The Goldfinch, and The Line of Beauty are all available at your local independent bookseller or on Amazon