NYFW S/S ’10 show report: Rodarte

16 September 2009


I vote the Mulleavy sisters the coolest girls in America. They deliver collections that are consistently slick and reference nothing else but their own past work. Theirs is one of only a handful of labels in New York that truly deserves international fashion status. Karl Lagerfeld buys Rodarte pieces to give as presents for his team, for heaven’s sake. And yet, they still look like they are surprised by their own achievement. They are real-woman shaped (as opposed to angular fashion Manhattanites). You could pass them in the street and not know who they are. They live in LA, far from any fashion capital. They don’t have private jets but they do have an Airstream trailer. They don’t travel with huge entourages. Long-time Rodarte supporter Kirsten Dunst gave the thumbs up from backstage but their front rows are not full of celebrities. And they so easily could be because the sisters are probably the hottest fashion talent west of Hoxton.


This season they took the Rodarte themes back to basics. Way back – think Stoneage chic. Soft, crinkled cheesecloth combined with wool cobweb knit was wrapped around bodies painted with Maori tattoos. Voluminous dresses were anchored with hand-plaited leather belts with antique silver buckles. Crushed linen was combined with sprinklings of Swarovski crystals. Painted lace was worked with distressed silk. The elements looked like craft – certainly handmade, almost home-made. The colours were earthy: rust, brown, muddy beige and stormy greys. The dry ice that filled the floor made the venue bubble like a primordial swamp and the matted wool over the models hair made it all feel very One Million Years BC. Loved, loved, loved the scaly skinny trousers with punky zippers. Loved, loved, loved the long crinkly black cheescloth evening gowns trimmed with jet black feathers and crystals. Loved, loved, loved the cropped hand-woven leather braided jackets. And the image of Anna Wintour steeped up to her shoulders in dry ice looking like a perfectly groomed creature from a primordial lagoon will stay with me for a very long time.


- Paula Reed in New York

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