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"I love clothes and I want my guests to really enjoy the clothes, the craftsmanship, the fabric and the detail—It allows you to choose to spend more time with certain looks," says Catherine Malandrino, when we ask her why she often displays her collections in presentations instead of shows.
We definitely spent a lot of time looking at the designs in Malandrino Fall/Winter 2011. Held on a gutted floor of the former New York Times building, the layout of the models' pedestals allowed for very close inspections of the clothing, even by presentation standards. From inches away, we admired elongated silhouettes, men's inspired plaid pants, pleated skirts and dresses—many in black, with some royal blue, red, purple and green pieces thrown in. The audience seemed very taken with the collection, to the point where we suspect that very little of it, if any, will stick around long enough to go the sample sale route.
But what really caught our eye, were the jackets and coats. Leather, mink, chinchilla, fox and various combinations of the above—all so stunning they could almost make a PETA supporter turn in their membership card. One memorable coat, which was not of animal-descent, was a clear vinyl raincoat with black silhouettes of flowers embroidered on it. We don't know how waterproof vinyl is once it's had embroidery needles stuck in it, but for a coat so striking, we wouldn't care if we got wet.
While we enjoyed being in such close proximity to the designs, as it allowed us to really examine details like the knit leggings and the Tootsie-esque Malandrino by Selima eyeglasses, we're not sure the models were equally as pleased by the proximity. One, attired in a somewhat sheer gray knit T-strap dress fidgeted uncomfortably as a photographer veered perilously close. Another had to remain stock still, as a woman—who did not work for Malandrino—walked up behind her and adjusted the back of her skirt. We get it though—with designs this luxe, we kind of wanted to reach out and touch them ourselves.