17 February 2010

NYFW Show Report: Rodarte

There seem to be three schools of thought at NY fashion week. There are those designers who feel that what is needed now is the stuff that American designer have always done well: the luxury separates that fit seamlessly into any wardrobe and have a timelessness that justifies the designer price. Then there are those who think the way forward is with an uncompromising statement: fashion before all else. Then there is a third group and it is an elite and tiny club, who prove that being faithfully true to your own vision is the most seductive thing of all. Rodarte are among the leaders of this pack.

Like Marc Jacobs’ show last night their presentation was pitch perfect for the tough times we find ourselves in.

To the romantic strains of ‘Blue Moon’ they showed a collection that captured the yearning for tenderness, innocence and simplicity.

Chunky wrapped blanket tops over fluttery skirts and embroidered tulle leggings came over like an affectionate hug. Dresses, which apeared to be made from an eclectic mix of mismatched fabrics found in a home dressmaker’s scrap box were both charming and unpretentious. Knits that used handcrafts such as crochet and rug tatting looked like an idea from the Mulleavey sisters’ heart and not a fashion statement. And the white dresses that closed the show with their loops of pearls draped low down the back and layers of tulle and lace were at once vintage and perfectly modern.

This collection’s naivety belies the amount of hand finishing that is required. Each piece is almost unique and carries a price tag that reflects the time it takes to make. And still Rodarte clothes don’t sit for long on the shop floor before they are eagerly snapped up, regardless of the price.

Fashion is at its best when it is a barometer for the time. Problem is that in NY at least, many of the barometers a little out of synch. Rodarte is one of the most reliable there is.

 

-Paula Reed in New York


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