The magical thinking mind meld that is the creative force of sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy has produced some fanciful conceptual shows over the ten years their brand Rodarte has been in business. And with any oeuvre that works in the abstract and the artisanal, the results can be hit or miss.
This season it was a hit.
The duo’s poetically romantic Spring/Summer 2016 offering was a crazy-quilt mélange of fabrics, textures and embellishments. A clothing collage that was rooted in reality thanks to the underlying straightforward silhouettes of above-the-knee peasant dresses, slouchy suits and a triptych of floor-skimming gowns.
The Mulleavy’s once again returned to their favorite fertile ground of ‘70s style for inspiration. Imagine David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust and Stevie Nicks having a sartorial love child – that is this collection. Filled with shimmering beaded suits and gypsy dresses resplendent in luxe remnants of lace, velvet panels and beaded silks. Sometimes the ensembles appeared with shaggy chubby shearling coats and girly gilded floral clips worn in the model’s hair, or they were finished off with long flowing scarves tied around the neck for great effect.
It was as if the duo had raided a vintage clothing store, taken the best pieces it had to offer and then proceeded to pull them apart and transform the old into something intriguingly new. Which is a hallmark of Rodarte's esthetic approach.
This brand is not for everyone. Which, one would imagine, is just fine with the sisters. They aren’t looking to please anyone but themselves. This time, however, that ego trip is one that quite a few people are going to want to take with them.