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Malan Breton New York Fashion Week Fall 2011

Malan is flanked by his finale pieces
Malan is flanked by his finale pieces
Wendy Kaufman

Malan Breton Fall 2011

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Malan Breton's fall 2011 collection for New York Fashion Week opened with a geisha dancing onto the stage while her love accompanied her on drum. The collar of the selenite-white kimono dipped perilously low down her back as she pranced about. Her dance ended in a dramatic kimono quick-change-reveal of a matching pretty, short, and very western bow-front dress. Malan made no bones about making his point regarding where his collection started, and left us with no question as to where it was going.

The simple lines and rich fabrics that are the mainstay of Japanese kimonos were evident in each piece that walked down the runway, with Malan's signature suits stealing the show. There is something about the fit of a Malan Breton suit that is arresting. They are lean and crisp. Made up in Breton Blue, they photograph phenomenally.

The women's looks--in ruby reds, Breton blues, and selenite white--often repeated that geisha-style low-back neckline we saw in the introduction piece, exposing long expanses of pretty napes of necks and shoulders. The effect was sexy, fresh and fun with no trace of vulgarity.

Topping it off was a mock wedding of our two Japanese lovers, which included the debut of the Malan's new line "OUI for Mattison," by way of a ruby-red wedding dress and veil, the color of celebration for most of Asia. Celebration-red is a pretty good starting point for a much-needed injection of color in bridal wear. For many brides, staring at a rack of white or beige or otherwise pale wedding dresses can be a monotonous chore. Color is a good thing.

Live music accompanied the show, and displayed the talents of quite a few artists; including the debut of Ariana Grande's (from Nickelodeon's "Victorious") cover of "Love the Way You Lie."

An emotional Malan greeted the press after his show. Blotting tears and posing for photos, it was clear that he was happy with how things unfolded. The show was indeed beautiful. Pieces from his collection would fit easily into any wardrobe, their simple lines making them terrifically flexible. Bravo!

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