Catherine Malandrino built her eponymous business upon the strength of the sort of sophisticated and alluring dresses that Sexed-up the City back in the mid-90s. She was touted as a new generation’s DVF by many and then in an ill twist of fate, Malandrino pushed full-throttle into expansion just as the economy sputtered in 2008. She may have completely gone under, were it not for Elie Tahari’s 11th-hour investment in her brand three years later.
Fast forward to today, and she’s still evolving those chic frocks that earned her a cult following among the many women who appreciate a more mature take on sexy. For fall 2013, she found fascination in the alluring “negative space” created by crochet-stitches, guipure lace, and boldly embroidered motifs set on nude bases.
In a nod to Malandrino’s “bourgeoisie on Broome, St. NYC” personal narrative, the collection cribbed liberally from the French cannon of contemporary style reference. One could see a provocative bit of Bardot here mingling with a confident dash of Alaia there within the assortment’s “rich-hippie”, floor-length frocks and Grace Jones-caliber, belted leather outerwear. By no means experimental in terms of silhouette, this presentation proved that Malandrino knows her customer well enough to stay true to her brand’s “bread and butter” while still cultivating new and exciting takes on her feminine-yet-practical aesthetic.