Fashion Notes: “Somebody Up There Likes Her”

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Catherine Malandrino collection – photos

Finally! But it took four days for a designer showing at Lincoln Center in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, to actually make inspired use of the iconic location. Every show thus far has been inside, and once indoors, regardless of the venue, it basically resembles Bryant Park. It was a brilliant move and a risky one at that for Catherine Malandrino to take such a chance and gamble on staging her spring 2011 collection outdoors, in the Grand Promenade outside Avery Fisher Hall since the weather would always be ‘iffy’ until the last minute.

As it turns out, in a week where the weather has been and will continue to be rather wonderful, Sunday was the only day which called for rain. It rained right after Derek Lam’s wonderful 10 AM show (he melded the best of New York chic with West Coast laid back ‘cool’) and concentrated on timeless, happily untrendy pieces- trench coats, blazers, beautifully cut trousers, tunics, shirts, anoraks, great sweaters, evening separates, and a few really beautiful dresses. It reminded me of why we fell in love with him seasons ago and was the true definition of ‘designer sportswear’.

And it poured following Diane Von Furstenberg’s 4 pm show (called ‘Goddess’ it was all about “casual cool” and “glamorous sportswear” with lots of graphic patterns and mixed prints (duh!), hoods, jumpsuits, shorts, Bermudas, and a number of elegant, goddess inspired draped dresses both long and short). In fact, the rain fell hard enough in the late afternoon to force a rescheduling of the men’s finals of the U.S. Open (it will be played this afternoon).

But for Catherine’s noon show, dubbed ‘Madoura’, an homage to the “creative works of Ceramist Roger Capron in the artist village of Vallauris in the South of France”, it remained dry (she must ‘know’ someone up there VERY well). In any case, it was quite a spectacle and a joy to behold, and with the recording of a French chanteuse, Renee Arsenault, playing on a loudspeaker in the background, it felt consummately French but at the same time, very New York, since it was hard to ignore you were smack dab in the middle of cultural center of the city. (The perfect mix- just like Ms. Malandrino, a French born long time New York resident).

36 models, each one situated high up on a stone pedestal, (which gave them the look of fabulously dressed statues), encircled the large rectangular reflecting pool (complete with magnificent sculpture), right outside the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, with a large banner advertising “South Pacific” serving as the background. The collection was very sophisticated, grown up, and chic in a way that is extremely international and global, and it played to all the designer’s strengths (her legion of fans look to her because she loves women, understand thems, and always makes them look beautiful and very feminine). The accessories, jewelry, shoes, handbags, belts, hats, were all by Catherine Malandrino. I especially loved the flat sandals that literally laced all the way up the model’s legs and resembled an open work legging- the perfect accessory for a pair of micro shorts or brief maillot. The saucy straw hats added that perfect ‘je ne sais pas quois’; the bracelets and especially the bold necklaces, were ethnic enough to be interesting, but never overly costumey and had a vintage feel which made them seem highly personal rather than brand new and ‘store bought’.

Standouts include the white broderie anglaise tunic and linen boy short shown with a tan straw hat and distressed antique talisman quartz bracelet; the black cotton viscose t shirt with sun face embroidery, black leather and crochet culotte, black straw hat, black leather macramé high sandal; the tan viscose crochet tank and black linen canvas bloomers; the ivory viscose jersey poncho and white crochet bathing suit; the slate macramé embroidered vest, slate weaved leather wide belt and black cotton low bloomers, just to list a few.

FYI, I did have a laugh as I encircled the installation and saw a large poster outside the Vivian Beaumont Theatre advertising Pedro Almodovar’s new musical comedy, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous B reakdown”. Enough said.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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