Malene Grotrian and her models pose for a post-show photo op. (Photo by Toranj Kayvan. Click the photos in this post to enlarge.)
You may remember from last week's post that I met Danish-born, Vancouver-based designer Malene Grotrian at the Blushing Boutique Valentine's Day shopping party. After falling head over heels for her beautiful bustiers, Malene invited me to a fashion show at her Gastown studio. It was a good thing I got an invitation straight from the designer herself, because as I found out when I arrived last night, the gathering was quite small and intimate. Malene belongs to a networking group called BNI, and guests at the show consisted of BNI members, friends, and family only.
Malene designs evening wear and separates that can transition from the office to cocktail hour. Her pieces veer from structured, architectural lines to flowing silhouettes that drape across a woman's body. The constant theme running through her collection is "Dream into the future": She draws on "antique elements" from the 30s and 40s and uses luxe Italian fabrics reminiscent of a more decadent age, but combines them with more modern details and shapes for an overall look that transcends eras.
Malene demonstrates how the tie neck can be reworked into various looks and explains what makes her bustiers so great. (Photos by Toranj Kayvan.)
What impressed me most about Malene's pieces was their versatility. A polka-dot print tunic could scrunch up into a top to be worn with skinny jeans or leggings, or be pulled down to form a mini dress. (And unlike the AA high-waisted skirt which purportedly does the same thing, this version has enough coverage to actually be called a dress!) A "one size fits all" halter dress meant for sizes 2 to 14 draped artfully on slim women and accentuated curves on more voluptuous figures.
Photo by Peter Jensen
From left to right: A gray plaid sheath with a black cowl neck and jersey sleeves; an emerald green "one size fits all" halter dress; an LBD with a cream-and-gold bolero jacket. (Photos by Toranj Kayvan.)
My favourite pieces of the collection included a cream-and-gold bolero jacket with a sculpted ruffle collar and inverted back pleat, and an electric blue satin cocktail sheath. The sheath is a stunner from all angles with its bold colour, feathers around the bust, lace-up back, and back slit. And who could forget those bustiers? Malene paired the ones in the show with tiered full-length and knee-length bubble skirts. She also debuted her first ever leather bustier, modelled by the lovely Jacqueline Ryan.
The show-stopping blue dress! (Photos by Peter Jensen.)
Angela Murphy and her colleague (also named Lisa!) from Mary Kay did the makeup for the show. Models sported smoky yet subtle eyes in different coloured shadows, finished off with a bronze or berry lip. Justine Brooks's nature-inspired statement necklaces and earrings--made with sterling silver, peacock feathers, and stones sourced from Shanghai and Cairo--provided the perfect finishing touch, as did the handbags and belts by Danish label Friis & Company.
Justine Brooks and some of her jewelry designs. (Photos by Toranj Kayvan.)
A big thank you to Toranj and Peter for the lovely photos!