02/13/2012 10:57 EST | Updated 04/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Malandrino's fashion line inspired by film 'Cat People' for woman's inner feline

NEW YORK, N.Y. - If you don't remember the 1982 movie "Cat People," that's the one where Nastassja Kinski was transformed into a leopard.

Catherine Malandrino remembers it, and the French designer says she was inspired by the idea that a woman can be transformed at night into something sexier and slinkier. Her fall/winter 2012 collection for New York Fashion Week is titled, "The Cat."

"I'm designing for a strong working woman, but at the same time she has a nightlife, and some fantasy," the designer said Sunday at the presentation of her collection in a downtown showroom. In her designs, she says, "there's a hint of the kind of woman she is — audacious, fearless, brave."

Or, as the program notes put it, "By day, she prowls in soft silk crepe ... by night, a feline transformation ensues."

You can see Malandrino trying to convey this sense of transformation in the clothes. A black puffer jacket — the height of functionality — is also a sexy corset. A black bomber jacket is also a bustier.

A dark violet pencil skirt becomes something more when it's in vinyl. Especially when it's paired with a shocking pink organza wrap blouse — the colour is called "fatal" pink.

You may have seen crocodile leather pants before — but in white? There's also a white strapless crocodile bustier dress.

Those would probably not fly at work — though a red cashmere coat is on the more practical, daytime side of things. A rather spectacular black crystal and leather mesh dress, however, would get you way too much attention at the office.

While black is a favoured hue here, there are a few nice draped gowns in bright colours: a violet asymmetric long dress, and a green satin long-sleeved dress. Nice and slinky — like a cat, perhaps.