Rodarte's Pitti W collection - INSPIRED BY MONKS AND SAINTS!

17 June 2011

So, those very talented sisters, Laura and Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte fame, are taking their creations to the next level at Italian trade fair Pitti  - it’s not long till couture week in Paris and Rodarte are presenting their most haute collection yet. They have made 10 special dresses which are on display at Pitti W [EXPLAIN WHAT THIS IS] in Florence to an audience of fashion industry insiders. It’s an industrial setting and the dresses are suspended mid-air, rather than on mannequins and have been accessorised with neon tubes. Very Tracey Emin.

The rather razzy iridescent gowns wouldn’t look out of place on Shirley Bassey, but in the girls’ minds, are inspired by ‘the frescos of Fra Angelico’ [a Monk-artist from the early renaissance who died in 1455) According to WWD, and the sisters worked drapes and folds around gently pooling columns to echo the ‘beautiful stagnant aspect of his subjects’ robes,’ said Laura Mulleavy.

The selected pieces were constructed from organza, taffeta, lamé and tulle, and variously embellished with painted feathers, hammered sequins and hand beading. Some had metal shoulder pieces and breastplates, with metal splays on tiaras and belts echoing divine sun rays. Apparently these elements nodded to Bernini’s sculpture The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, ‘that’s so imperfect,’ noted Mulleavy, ‘but so perfect because he was able to make fabric look better than fabric looks.’ Did you know that Kate studied History of Art at college? We are glad to see that all that knowledge didn’t go to waste.

In the process of expanding their business, the sibling design team have courted high and low opportunities – like designing a mass produced range for US bargain shop, Target, creating some pretty haute-level tutus for Black Swan and now this for Pitti. We think their talents may be more suited to the bespoke, one-off side of things – although their ready-to-wear collections at New York Fashion Week have always had a hand-made, demi-couture feel to them. What do you think of Rodarte’s step into couture?

-Naomi Attwood


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