gowns catherine malandrino

Creative, cool, eclectic. Imaxtree.com

DESIGNER: Catherine Malandrino

INSPIRATION: A celebration of cultural diversity represented by four tribes; the Saharan nomads, the Sudanese clans, the Peruvian tribes and the Polynesian natives. Exotic!

A viscose and crinkle chiffon crochet one shoulder dress in an alluring shade of plum with fuchsia accents that draped beautifully over the body; Jade green sleeveless gown with ruffled, dramatic cut-to-the-waist neckline.

Tribal-inspired stone necklaces with leather trim accents by Siman Tu for Malandrino; desert-ready sunhats and turbans by Selima for Malandrino; platforms, strappy flat sandals and slip-on loafer-like clogs by Malandrino.

WHO WAS THERE: Mary J. Blige, Olivia Palermo and Estelle made appearances; Kim Kardashian was backstage interviewing experts with voice recorder in hand, playing her new role as Contributing Beauty Editor at OK! magazine. At the collection viewing, we spotted the Voguettes sans Madame Wintour.

WHAT WE THOUGHT: Always a maven of mixing creativity with downtown cool, Catherine Malandrino's Spring 2010 collection was an eclectic presentation viewing at the Chelsea Art Gallery. Models stood perilously on steep blocks in front of white washed walls, in four different tribal groups while African tribal music thumped in the background.

Malandrino's talent for drapery sparkled in the tunics, dresses and even harem pants – which were all made from delicate chiffon, cotton, viscose and jersey. Details like leather embroidery and stone jewelry created a distinctly earthy vibe, as did the fabric hues like jungle green and desert terracotta.

While much of the styling and accessorizing of the models was eccentric and out-there, several pieces in the collection were surprisingly wearable – most notably, the cozy-looking tunics and dresses that draped seamlessly over the body in comfortable fashion, while still lightly clinging true to the feminine form. Leave it to Malandrino to walk straight out of the Sahara Desert and onto the streets of New York.

--By Melissa Goldberg