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Friday, September 27, 2013

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation Review

Out of curiosity, I stopped into Kohl's for a look at the Catherine Malandrino for DesigNation collection. Despite the lack of fanfare surrounding this collection, I still wanted to see the Parisian-themed pieces, especially after browsing the collection online a few days before the September 27th release. 

Warning! If you love like color, then this collection may not appeal to you. If you can appreciate Gallic sartorial influences, then you might favor the printed tees and playful graphic blouses. The collection's simple palette of mostly black and white makes it easy to mix and match. As soon as I saw the clothing on the racks, I thought that these were easy, chic pieces with that French je ne sais quoi: minimal design details, yet great texture and tailoring. Most of the dresses I saw were slip-on styles with no zippers or fastenings. Simplement simple!

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing

Store signage indicated that the collection was 25% off. Add in some store coupons, and the prices get even lower.

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing
Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing
Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing
Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing
Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing
Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing hang tags

Unfortunately, the selection at my store was smaller that I had hoped. I really wanted to try on the pleated jumpsuit, laser-cut shift dress, and scroll jacquard sweater, which were nowhere to be found. I picked a few favorites and took them off to the very messy fitting rooms. For reference, I pulled size 2 and XS in everything, as the sizing looks true to Kohl's Misses sizes (which means I size down on everything). 

Below, I'm wearing the Eiffel Tower sweater two different ways, with the textured knit skirt on the left, and with the hem tucked under and my own skinny jeans on the right. I loved the fun and on-trend Eiffel Tower graphic, but the 5% wool made it ever so slightly itchy to me. Due to the placement of the graphic, it's best for someone with a longer torso than me. In the middle, I'm wearing the hooded oversized jacket, which fits much like a poncho, although with drop shoulder seams and fitted knit sleeves that can be scrunched up. I found the snap closures to be flimsy, but loved the two front patch pockets. Overall, it's a great lightweight jacket for cool or rainy fall days. I'd pair it with dark leggings or slim trousers for a sleek outfit.

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing

Below on the left is my favorite dress from the collection - the gored ponte dress. It truly has to be appreciated in person due to the impeccable tailoring. The lace sleeves and lace godet hem are very sophisticated, and not itchy at all. It's a dressy and chic pull-on style with a well tailored waist and flare in the hip area, which creates a nice hourglass silhouette. A major thumbs up on this one! In the middle, I'm wearing the striped oversized sweater. Like with the Eiffel Tower sweater, the small amount of wool made it uncomfortable for me. On the right is the embroidered shift dress, one of the more expensive pieces in the collection. It's also a pull-on style, and comes with an awkward nude slip, which left it ever so slightly sheer in the bright fitting room lights. It felt comfortable, although I felt the quality of the embroidery wasn't worth the price. I belted it to define the waist, since it's not as well tailored as the gored ponte dress.

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing

My top pick for blouses in the collection is the Paris print blouse, which comes in white (on the left) and black (on the right). The white one is more sheer than the black, but I loved the fit and feel of both. They have snap front closures, and be warned that the wrists on these blouses are very fitted when snapped shut. In the middle is the only non black or white item I tried on - the oversized and stretchy Paris Je T'aime tee. Since tucking in this tee covers the message, I wore it untucked, so I would've preferred a smaller font on this top. I'm wearing my favorite skirt in the collection below - the pleated knit skirt, which also comes in a deep teal. I loved the easy fit, the thick feel of the fabric, and the pleated hemline. The slight A-line shape and versatility also appealed to me. This skirt is one of my must-haves in the collection. I can imagine it dressed up with a blazer and blouse, or dressed down with an embellished sweater and ankle boots.

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation dresses and clothing

Below on the left, I'm wearing the Paris oversized tee and pleated knit skirt. The tee's rayon and spandex fabric made it really soft, but difficult to tuck into the skirt without bulk. In the middle, I'm wearing the appliqué shift dress, which I belted for more shape. Like the other dresses, it's a pull-on style. I found it to be comfortable, although I wasn't crazy about the sleeves shape and length, or the swirly, scroll-cut embroidered designs, therefore, I didn't think it was worth the price. On the right, I tucked the dress into the textured knit skirt to style it as a top. While I liked the shape and the thick fabric of the knit skirt, I found the dot/stripe print to be almost dizzying. The contrast striped waistband was an interesting detail that I found to be unexpected, though. 

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's DesigNation clothing

In conclusion, I thought this collection didn't scream high-low designer collaboration, as the pieces are chic, minimal in design details, and easy to wear. Simple, sophisticated styles with great tailoring is where this collection went right. Perfect for that insouciant French style that looks so easy to attain! 

Due to long lines, I didn't make any purchases, but I may be going back armed with coupons for my favorites. 

If you have any questions or comments about the collection, feel free to tweet me @thekeytochic or catch up with me on my Facebook page! Happy shopping!

Shop the rest of the collection on sale: