February 18, 2009
Catherine Malandrino was one of this week's many venue-switchers, trading the Chelsea Art Museum for the Rainbow Room. With a rotating circular floor set at a perspective-skewing 65 floors skyward, it was a suitable locale for the designer's surrealist-themed collection, named—what else?—"Over the Rainbow." Much of it paid direct homage to surreal fashion's first lady, Elsa Schiaparelli. On the back of a wool coat, for example, was a leather appliqué of two profile silhouettes that with a blink turn into a vase—a motif originally designed for Schiap by Jean Cocteau. But the backward bun hairdos, seamed stockings, and net-covered faces echoed the work of those more recent surr-torialists, Viktor & Rolf. Ultimately, though, such a criticism is beside the point with Malandrino, a retail dynamo whose fan club, both civilian and celebrity, will be more than happy with her new lean mid-calf silhouette dress and classic and sexy pointelles.