NEW YORK — Catherine Malandrino wants to be around for a long time — in customers’ wardrobes.

The designer, who will present her signature fall collection on Sunday night, is launching a new division of limited edition designs at the show that she expects customers will collect as if they were pieces of art, rather than seasonal, throw-away clothes. She’s also brought on board Gary Nelson, who was executive vice president of Miguel Adrover, to head the division, called Catherine Malandrino Limited Edition.

“After Sept. 11, I wanted to define more what women were expecting from clothes,” Malandrino said. “I wanted clothes that were about more comfort, more individuality, more about who we are. These clothes are for a woman that has as much individuality as the piece.”

Malandrino has designed about 50 limited-edition pieces for fall, some of which will be mixed into her runway show. They include a cream wool and silk blouse with hand-stitched pleated details, a six-ply hand-knit cashmere turtleneck with exaggerated sleeves and a mauve cut-out dress made of lace and shredded jersey fabric that have been carefully embroidered together.

Only a handful of each style will be produced in Italy, from one-of-a-kind items to a numbered series of 20 to 50 pieces. Prices, naturally, are more reflective of the limited distribution planned for the line, picking up where Malandrino’s ready-to-wear leaves off, around $1,000 at retail, and escalating to around $2,500.

“This is a way to be able to have clothes that will be with you for a while,” Malandrino said. “They are more exclusive, like a piece of art, so that each piece will have a little more individuality.”

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