Malandrino Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear Collection — Khan

Transitioning from last spring’s nomadic inspiration, the Malandrino Fall 2010 Collection entitled “Khan,” explored the underlying themes of a post-apocalyptic warrior and what remains in the aftermath. According to the program notes, Catherine Malandrino began with a vision of the earth as seen from above—its constantly changing and varied landscape became an abstraction of contrasting color and texture that informed her core aesthetic. This newly aerial perspective gave her muse a heightened sensibility as a woman who must simultaneously embody strength, ease, and raw femininity. The French designer unveiled 37 new looks with an open installation at the Chelsea Art Museum, infusing her eponymous collection with a “hunting-and-gathering” instinctive edge.

The metaphorical representation of our modern frenetic lifestyle sartorially re-imagined by a new tribalism era has been a reoccurring theme on the runway in recent seasons. That feeling of wild abandon is often conveyed by a play on proportions and overlapping of rich textures. For Fall 2010, Catherine Malandrino juxtaposed rugged fabrications alongside fluid and sensual draping, defining a silhouette that was at once powerful and primal. Ms. Malandrino created a tactile tension, with the exotic (coats and vests in kidassia goat hair, shearling, and fox fur), evoking a wild and untamed sensibility that played against their cocoon-like construction. These animal skins were effortlessly wrapped to envelop the body, creating a feeling of comfort and protection. Distressed leather, wool boucle, bronze metallic lace, and insert of trapunto embroidery served to balance the collection and to promote a sense of harmony within the natural world. What at first glance feels paradoxical—manipulating the aboriginal and primitive, treating the elaborate and unfamiliar in unconventional ways—blended together as the hand-crafted symbolism of an empowered woman, who has reinvented herself and her wardrobe. Something once old can become new again. It’s that somewhat existentialist manifestation that we can take from the past, rebuild and reshape our future.

This fundamental connection with the environment was echoed in the color palette of deep mineral tones such as indigo and rust, hand-brushed prints and rich blacks and taupe. To complete the alluring story, the shoes and accessories also traced the work of an artisanal, untamed beauty. Shoes with horn-shaped toes and distressed leather appeared almost hoof-life. Bell necklaces and earrings were twisted in rope-like silver. Cuffs of fused metal and stone clusters amalgamated in a sense of raw embellishment.

My favorite primal pieces from the Mongolian-influenced Malandrino Fall 2010 Collection included: a Noir Rapunta leather oversize jacket with fox collar, Sikkim noir linen long pant, and noir pony double platform boot; the Sendom noir cashmere draped-front flower cardigan, Sikkim Ruggine tweed long-pant, tiger fine-merino pashmina, Darkhan amber cornelian cuff bracelet, Bhutan leather chord bronze weight belt, and Baruun leopard double-platform boot; a Markhi noir twist-shoulder asymmetrical-viscose draped dress with distressed leather bustier, Yama Argentato necklace, suede ankle wraps, and double platform with Mongolian front; the Dzamin noir cashmere tunic with distressed sequins and leather braids, Zhuang croc fitted-pant, Yangzi bell Argentato berry-bead necklace, Adzar noir distressed-shearling monk bag, Batu noir gloves with Argentato bracelets, and platform booth with metal-coated front; the lynx print mink double-face khaki suede draped blanket wrap, Hanh Oceano pleated-side shorts; jasper Argentato ring, Bhutan noir cord belt, and a Moron Saga distressed leather platform boot; a Mahakala noir handcrafted fox cocoon wrap with distressed leather braids, Sikkim noir tropical wool pant with merino wool cuffs, noir long gloves, volcano Argentato chain cuff; and moron noir double-platform boot.

Images provided courtesy of Malandrino.

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