posted by: freePOrnaoa in General on February 14th, 2010
Everyone’s saying it’s all about Russia in fashion and culture this year, and with a friend moving to Moscow, I’m willing to check it out. But at Malandrino today, it was all about Mongolia, Russia’s landlocked neighbor.
Let’s start with the celebs at the show. I haven’t seen this many celebs in such a short period of time perhaps ever (yesterday, Kelly Rutherford, a.k.a Serena’s pretty mom from Gossip Girl, smiled at me as I came out of the Louboutin store as she was getting in a cab — I would like to think she was checking out my over-the-knee boots and not just being friendly but who knows).
The most well-known celeb there was Whitney Port from MTV’s The City. It makes sense that Whitney Port, having worked at DVF, likes Malandrino. Walking around the jam-packed Chelsea Art Museum, Whit kept saying things like, “These clothes are so amazing. So pretty. Wow.” She’s a cute little California gal, and she’s trying to dress like a New Yorker now (lots more black).
I know because she seemed to be in front of me the whole time, although I was more interested in hearing what Kate Walsh, the ravishing doctor-on-TV of Grey’s Anatomy, thought. She seemed to love the collection as well, uttering praise and snapping photos with her point-and-shoot.
Here’s a better shot of Whit’s Outfit du Jour. I like the booties a lot, but I’m not sure about the rest of it, especially the jacket and the black tights. I like her pal’s grey outfit, if not the way it fits her.
So let’s talk about the way Malandrino positioned the models, instead of having a runway. It was very smart because so many people got great photos. This show will get a lot more blog press than it normally would for that reason.
The only problem was, the models all looked exceedingly unhappy.
We’re all used to models looking stoic, mean, unhappy, starved or any blend of the above, but this was hard for them. They were standing in very high heels on top of a small platform for over an hour. God only knows how long the dressing took, so how long they were standing before that. Not a model’s favorite NYFW gig, though they will get great media exposure.
Handlers kept walking around, checking on the models. “Are you all right? Are you sure you’re all right???” (Mental image of a model in 5-inch platforms tumbling over like a bowling pin, faint from heat, exhaustion and lack of food).
Now let’s take a look at the ensembles, including very interesting shoes, and at least one pair that I really liked. The inspiration for this collection came from two kidassia goat chairs Ms. Malandrino found in a Brooklyn shop. The collection is entitled “Khan,” and the Mongolian influences are obvious (though the “Asian” eye makeup is a bit much). Goat hair, shearling, fox fur, distressed leather, wool boucle and earth colors from indigo to rust evoke an earthly reconnection. This is a major change for Malandrino, which has frequently infused chic, girly French looks with just a touch of the exotic, not a bucketload.
One of my favorite examples of the kind of restrained exotic where Malandrino scores big is this jacket.
Irina is wearing a slashed-leather motorcycle jacket with a fox-fringe front and back, linen cropped pants, suede ankle wraps and distressed-leather double-platform pumps. If Malandrino had made this jacket animal print, it would’ve been far too much.
I love the double platforms Malandrino used throughout the show, especially with the suede ankle wraps. It gives the same effect as an ankle strap pump, but without the discomfort.
Here are a few of the other shoes, including some uber-lovable double platform booties with indigo dye that ended up looking somewhat greenish against the black. Everything in this collection is very rugged and worn-looking: stitches show, dye looks random, and things are not sleek and perfect (except perhaps the final ensemble). Even leggings are croc-embossed, showing their rugged animal side. And hosiery, jewelry and ankle adornments were of the utmost importance in this show.
These are lovely, and think of all the work that must’ve gone into them if they’re hand-painted.
Now, these were my favorite shoes because they were sort of a mirage boot. At first, you think, those boots are worn ridiculously. No one can wear their boots open like that and not trip, as cool as it looks.
But you can, since these are bound together by black fabric (I think it was leather, but I’m not sure — there could’ve been some elastic). I really enjoyed these. They fit the life of a modern woman: just slip into them and go. No buckles, zippers or laces.
Matching multicolored ankle wraps are a nice touch to an otherwise blah outfit.
Lovely accessorizing going on here. I really like the bracelets on top of the gloves. And what a beautiful dress! Malandrino is really showing us with this dress and the distressed leather motorcycle jacket that she really knows her stuff when it comes to leather, and that shows in the shoes as well.
With this dress, weight of fabric is an important factor. The leather needs to fold and drape perfectly. The gloves need to scrunch perfectly and fit the wrists and fingers just so so accessories can go over them.
Working with fur is no exception. While I do not wear or condone fur, it is notoriously difficult to work with. Malandrino really pulled out all the stops for these two looks below.
This was one of the few spots of green I remember in the show, and I loved it. I would definitely purchase these fierce deep jade shoes.
I know it’s crazy, because normally, I wouldn’t be CAUGHT DEAD with a bag like this (I dislike Western and Native American styles, and the bag evokes that), but I really liked it on her with the ensemble. It’s really a statement piece and makes the look complete (far overshadowing the comparatively simple shoes). Maddie is wearing a cashmere oversize turtleneck sweater, pleated side shorts, an argentato plate drop necklace, black leather double-platform pumps and the aforementioned braided fringe kidassia bag.
Oleysa (below, left) is wearing a cashmere tunic with distressed sequins and leather braids, croc fitted pants with a metal zip closing, an argentato berry-bead necklace, a distressed-shearling monk bag, gloves with argentato bracelets and distressed leather double-platform boots with metal coated fronts.
Chloe (below, right) is wearing a double-face khaki suede draped blanket wrap, pleated side shorts, an argentato ring, a noir cord belt and distressed leather double-platform boots.
Below, Whitney surveys the last few looks.
The final look, which would look so normal in so many other shows, was so unusual here and didn’t fit in, interesting as it was.
Nykhor is wearing a distressed sequined one-sleeve chiffon dress, an argentato bell necklace, an argentato flower bib necklace, suede ankle wraps and black crocodile double-platform pumps.
All in all, well done, Malandrino. It was an eye-opening show full of interesting, meaningful pieces that were well-constructed and different from the current pack. The draping and rugged materials were lovely, and were complemented well by the natural-looking but sexy wooden-platformed shoes, crocodile leggings, suede ankle wraps and animal prints. This is a very, very labor-intensive collection, and in this case, it was worth it.