Why is it that everything seems it was made better back then? Interiors, facades, clothing, you name it! While there are a bevy of things today that are made well it seems that nowadays free enterprise and the desire to keep acquiring things, upon things, upon things leaves room for lots of junk with short shelf lives. What I feel is great about things made back then was that Old World craftsmanship was still the ruling piece and even simple inexpensive items by today's standards were made with care. Before machines that automated everything and crazy assembly lines that made the handmade-looking into the mass manufactured, there was a special wrought by hand factor to interiors, fashion and adornment that translated well to this day.
When looking at Catherine Malandrino's designs you get a sense of the various elements of women's ready-to-wear offered with a sophistication tantamount to the look of Old World craftsmanship merged with modern chic flirty Parisienne sensibilities. How fitting her Fall/Winter 2013 was inspired by the French Art Deco master Ruhlmann. The intricate attention to detail coupled with the visually stimulating ideas made for a great showing from Ms. Malandrino.
Ruhlmann's Art Deco offerings had great textured eye-play and a pristine polished elegance. Ms. Malandrino captured this texture through her usage of geometric pieced velvets atop nude sheers, novelty lace micro surface woven fabrics and mini quilted brocade-like fabrics with great volume. The gorgeous draped gowns in deep jeweled tones captured the essence of the fluid Ruhlmann curved lamps and club chairs. Also on display were the great knitwear pieces Ms. Malandrino is known for. She showed great day dresses in open weave knits and flirty scalloped edge designs. The great story of interesting surfaces was furthered with smart knit open laces and sliced, pieced and embellished leather with intricate mini checks patterns and motifs on everything from sheath dresses to day coats to pencil skirts to leggings.
Catherine Malandrino's conversation through clothing about Ruhlmann was a pretty successful one. It was a dialogue between two French artists in two areas closely linked through taste and art, which shows that the language of great design is best continued, revered and endures when it's overall message inspires others to interpret.