Fashion Week Diary: Day 4 (Catherine Malandrino, Commonwealth Utilities, Moncler/Grenoble)


Adrien Field / February 15, 2010

We’ve made it to the halfway mark. Three days down, four to go. While most everyone else in the country was enjoying a three-day weekend and a lazy Sunday, I was up by 9 a.m. to get ready for the Catherine Malandrino presentation downtown. 

Catherine Malandrino is often considered a commercial designer, meaning that her clothes occasionally lack the artistic creativity one might see in a Thakoon or Rodarte, for example.  This season, Malandrino basically told her critics to “pop off” by presenting a collection full of conceptual prowess.  Models were channeling Genghis Khan propped up on pedestals, swathed in mammoth furs, knits and wools.  Basically, it was the kind of stuff that would keep you warm if stranded in Siberia.  The outerwear was the most standout element of the collection, but there were also great knits and separates to choose from.

The next stop was back at the tents for Hervé Leger.  Max Azria has been reinterpreting the classic bandage dress since 2007 and somehow it never gets old.  Max kept it exciting this season by taking the intricacy to new extremes.  These weren’t your typical, celebrity-press-junket bandages dresses; they were edgier and more meticulously constructed.  The emphasis was on the all-black ensembles, that with their leather patches, sexy cutouts, and corseted details recalled something out of Blade Runner.

Before my next show, I stopped into the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge—okay, it was more like I sat for a few hours—where photographers were swarming Chanel Iman like Bodyguard-era Whitney Houston had just entered the building. 

The next destination was The Nomad Hotel for the Commonwealth Utilities presentation.  Now, when I write “hotel,” you must take this with a grain of salt as the Nomad can only be considered a refuge if you’re homeless.  The yet-unopened hotel is in a bombed-out state that makes the Bates Motel look like The Ritz.  Hand warmers and hot cider were passed out to prevent hypothermia while everyone crowded in what will one day be the lobby. 

Once the show started, the models seemed unbothered by the ersatz environs.  Commonwealth Utilities, designed by Anthony Keegan, is one of the most exciting new menswear companies in the market.  Think 1920’s sophistication—men about to hang up their long johns after playing squash to drink Makers Mark in a fire-warmed library.  The collection excelled in tailored pieces like suits and outwear that had a subtle trendiness but overwhelming (in a good way) sense of masculinity and classic style.

I was beginning to feel like a nomad, myself, running all over town.  My next stop was the Moncler/Grenoble presentation at The Golf Club on the Pier. By this point, those hand warmers really started to come in handy as the further we climbed the stairs, the more it felt like we were entering a deep-freeze chamber.  Arriving at the top of the steps, I figured out why it was so damn cold: We were standing outside, wind blowing from the Hudson River and facing an enormous installation with about fifty models in prime shooting range had there been any golfers present.  Dramatic music came blaring from the sides and combined with the space-age suits on the models, I felt like I was in a scene from James Bond, From Russia With Love