The Moment: Catherine Malandrino greeted guests at Ladurée in SoHo on Thursday morning for a breakfast preview of her latest venture, a French-themed fashion collection for HSN. Pain au chocolat? S’il vous plaît.
Malandrino’s French heritage has always been a critical part of her work, and her accent, since I first met her almost two decades ago when she was working for Diane von Furstenberg, hasn’t changed one bit. But her approach to fashion has. “Since I sold my business, I was thinking it was time to look at a new platform,” she says, “but I still want to show women how to dress in a French way.”
Thus, she came up with French Rendez-Vous, a collection that debuts on air July 28. The first of what will be five collections, each inspired by a different French city, is dedicated to Paris, and the pieces are as crave-inducing as a baguette. An oversize white sweater features the Eiffel Tower, sunglasses are trimmed in black velvet, and a black leather clutch – her favorite piece – reverses to show "Paris" on one side and "New York" on the other (pictured, above).
Why It’s a Wow: Home shopping is one of the few areas of retail that have remained almost entirely upbeat during this topsy-turvy time for designers. And Malandrino’s approach will be distinguished by creating video travel guides to the cities she wants to feature, like Courchevel, her Alpine hometown, this fall, and St. Barts for spring 2017. And while the designs are very French (think cigarette pants and striped Breton shirts), they’re not so fussy.
“It’s casual,” Malandrino says, “but in the chic way of French women.”
Learn More: Need a Malandrino primer on French chic? Look back at our coverage last year when she was presented with the insignia of the Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, in recognition of her contributions to the arts.