Unique in style, flowing and richly decorated dresses, trousers, and overalls, as well as shoes and bags from KATARINA MALANDRINO, an Italian by origin, living and working in NEW YORK, cannot be confused with anything. Why real lace is leather, and how the style differs from fashion, I decided to ask Katarina herself. we met at her company boutique in DUBAI MALL and had a nice chat over a cup of coffee.
Katarin, did you know from childhood that you would become a fashion designer?
I think I was born to them. To be honest, I don’t even remember when exactly, but being a very little girl, I already cut rags with scissors, one of them was sewn together. At the age of eight, I began to invent my own silhouettes of dresses. I think the choice of my profession was not accidental. At some point, I felt that with the help of clothes I can change the appearance of a woman, her behavior and even lifestyle. Maybe, thanks to my mother, I got a certain impetus to my own creativity. In her wardrobe there were several blouses from Yves-Sen Laurent, which I really liked, and my mother wore them only on special occasions. She told me about Coco Chanel and how this woman revolutionized the world of women's clothing, allowing them to decide for themselves what is beautiful and what is not. That's when I realized how important beautiful clothes are in the life of each of us. Your things are extremely comfortable.
What fabrics and materials do you like to work with the most?
I believe that the comfort with which you wear your clothes has become one of the most important elements in the life of a modern person, and especially a woman. If the clothes are uncomfortable, then this is not the same clothes. Our society is developing according to its own laws - we move a lot and work a lot, constantly travel and perform a lot of various functions. Today's woman is a mother, a wife, a business partner, and just a woman, after all. For such a woman, the concept of “femininity” means strength, not weakness, as in the days of our grandmothers. Therefore, our contemporaries need clothes for travel and balls, but not cutesy, but beautiful, comfortable and practical. I like to find the right balance when working on my collections, maybe that's why my clothes, especially trousers and overalls, are worn with pleasure in different countries of the world?
In your collections there are a lot of leather goods, and very unusual, almost "lace" ones. When and why did you start experimenting with this material?
I have been working with leather from the very beginning of my design career. Being able to imagine leather in the form of lace products for me has become the surest way to reflect the rough and delicate sides of my work. When you imagine the skin, you think about its strength, and when you need to think about lace, an image of something unusually soft, fragile and airy arises before your eyes. That's why I like to combine the complete dissimilarity of these two opposing materials. One of my most interesting projects was turning a piece of leather into a "lace" blouse.
This is amazing! Nobody has done anything like this before you ...
I myself was interested. Using macramé, small embroideries, perforations, and other techniques, I tried to make the blouse made of leather look more like a tattoo on her body. In my opinion, I managed to achieve the desired effect. And that's great. Since I was able to slightly shift in the minds of women the stereotype of rudeness and unyielding of such material as genuine leather. And what I like best of all is that in such clothes you can age beautifully without looking back at your first wrinkles.
Where do you get the ornaments for such experiments?
I have been doing research in this area for a very long time, collecting ornaments and patterns of the most famous lace in the world, and, in my opinion, this process is endless. Over the years, I have achieved a skin thickness that is comparable to a piece of natural silk. Therefore, if you touch any leather product from the Catherine Maladrino collections, you will feel that the skin in it is smooth and soft, and most importantly - it drapes perfectly, laying down with luxurious folds. I experimented a lot, achieving the effects of "silk" or "lace", cutting off unnecessary layers of skin with a razor, creating lace weaving using the macrame technique, but using leather threads and so on. My fantasies knew no bounds, and I wanted to bring them to life. With the help of the staff of my studio in New York, and thanks to the involvement of the best masters in this work, I did it!
Do you think such types of needlework as embroidery, macrame, knitting are back in fashion?
For me, they never went out of fashion, since fashion is a very unsteady line between modern and traditional. Anyone likes the excellent quality of traditional products, and at the same time, we live in a super-fast world and should always be ready for a new movement. Therefore, for me, the combination of elements of tradition and modernity is a way of defining beauty in modern fashion.
What is primary for you - fashion or style?
Fashion is an empty place, because it means everything that I do not like and do not accept. Fashion is a kaleidoscope of rapidly changing collections that do not reflect anything but spontaneity. I love the style. This is what helps you emphasize your strengths and skillfully hide flaws. Style is knowing what suits you and what makes it memorable to others. What for you, as a designer, is an indicator of good taste and style when you first glance at a woman passing by? Stylish, for me, means not like the others. The woman who managed in all the variety of offers to find what makes her unique. I will always pay attention to such women and turn around after them. Thank God, these women are now becoming more and more. And among them, there are more and more women who find "their" designer, that is, that style and the clothes that completely coincide with their outlook on the world.
Katarin, was this your first time in Dubai?
I was here five or six years ago, but for the first time I arrived for a whole week and had the opportunity to get acquainted with this amazing city.
What is your impression of the city and its inhabitants?
Great! This city managed to combine two diametrically opposite ways of life - the wisdom of the East and the swiftness of the West. And they quietly get along with each other. Then, it seemed to me that well-educated and often traveling women live here. I managed to communicate with several customers in my boutique, and it turned out that they were well acquainted with my collections, as they bought things in London, New York, Moscow and other cities. For me, Dubai is a city where women live, clearly feeling my vision of fashion. They want comfort and lack of restraint in movements. Therefore, I offer them an international wardrobe, and where the length of the dresses does not quite meet the ethical standards of the East, my customers turn it into a tunic and wear it with leggings. For this I love them even more! They are not afraid of experiments just like me. Here in the Emirates, the love of detail is strong, and I like it too, because I love the original elements in my finishes.
What is your current fall-winter collection about?
According to Catharine Malandrino, autumn and winter this season is painted in deep tones of precious stones - from dark emerald, deep purple and dark blue sapphire to blood red (ruby) and bright yellow like citrine. I called this collection "Khan." It is all about true greatness and royal luxury, both East and West. In my opinion, it perfectly conveys my vision of this style.
What would you like to wish our readers?
My cruise collection was called "Music and Fashion." In my opinion, music is one of the most important phenomena in our life. When I work in the studio on my new collection, I always sing. Moreover, the music in New York is different from the one I sing in Paris. I wish all your readers to always feel the music in their soul. Although I do not like the word "fashion", but music and fashion are inseparable. Sing it! May your life be filled with joy and beauty.
Thanks for the conversation, Katarin.
Happy New Year to you.