February 12, 2011 New York
Dalmau titled his show Clean…But Not Really, a reference to his original intention and aesthetic at the line's founding: "We started this project on a palette of clean colors that are not usual," he explained backstage before the show. "From there, we work a lot of details into each piece to achieve a sophisticated, contemporary language at the end." Was it clean? Or even sophisticated? Not really. Layers of overgrown knits dangling hairy appendages were married to quilted silk minidresses—in some of their gone-to-seed extravagance, they almost resembled a maxi take on old Rodarte (not that you can really compare this to what the Mulleavy sisters do, of course). For men, the engorged knits—Dalmau called them "three-dimensional"—took the form of bulky sweaters, which, off the runway and on the rack, could have a punky afterlife.
This wasn't for the faint of heart. But Custo never has been. Over 30 years, Dalmau has carved himself a niche and done what he intended: created a contemporary language all his own. The house was packed with those eager to hear what he had to say.