Staying true to their Mediterranean lifestyle, Charles Borg and Ron van Maarschalkerweerd offered an array of bright colors and flouncy sleeves in the spring collection for their Maltese fashion label, Charles & Ron.
For the most part, they gave a fun and girlish twist to biker vests, minidresses, palazzo pants, jumpsuits and other staples in the contemporary women’s market. One whimsical look was the opener for their show in Los Angeles: a thigh-skimming dress that balanced stripes in the primary colors dominating the collection with a green Peter Pan collar and white sleeves flaring from the elbow.
But there also were a handful of questionable designs, for instance, a strapless minidress that was printed on top with squiggles and stripes and trimmed on the bottom with black tulle that exposed high-waisted briefs.
Taking pride in Maltese culture, the duo is among the biggest proponents of the European island nation’s fashion industry. They’ve manifested their nationalism via images of the Maltese centaury, a flower that blossoms atop cliffs and is recognized as the national plant. The purple rendition of the flora managed to work with a white minidress accentuated with lace sleeves and pink cuffs. On the other hand, the embellishments of the centaury on the back of cropped jackets and the front of T-shirts, next to the phrase “Maltese rock flower” to educate those not in the know, certainly flowed with the trend of message T-shirts seen on the European runways, but they might have limited appeal outside of the country’s population of 423,000.
At times, Borg and van Maarschalkerweerd’s Mediterranean flair overwhelmed the clothes, resulting in some oddly mismatched ensembles. Their finale would have been provocative by itself, with neon yellow and hot pink cording that evoked the intricate filigree jewelry exalted in Malta. Yet, the addition of a white jacket colorblocked in green and blue was a distraction.