Yay! Another Season of Rodarte to salivate over….
This time around the sisters seem to be having a ‘Van Gogh’ moment. Many of the dresses use patterns that evoke or include images of his famous works Sunflowers and Starry Night. Both are deliciously full of everything Rodarte is about – gothic-romanticism, texture and color. There are a few out there pieces that don’t seem to fit the overall story, like the purple and lime green pieces, but there’s definitely some gorgeous gowns in here to covet.
Strong, structured pieces dominate this collection, which is something of a departure from the usual Rodarte aesthetic. Many of the other elements are there – a certain ‘girly-goth’ to the styling; an eclectic mix of fabrics, shapes, patterns and silhouettes; crazy shoes. Crazy. Shoes. With this collection I feel a more refined Rodarte emerging, without feeling a loss of their edginess. Their signature disheveled, layered looks have morphed into a cleaner, more polished layering that is graphic and precise, rather than random. The choice of wood paneling as a fabric pattern yields an astonishing array of color and texture, especially paired with the clean, graphic shapes, The injection of color in the blue ming vase pattern (the dress even looks like a vase) is a delightful contrast to the browns and golds.
At once modern and old-fashioned, this collection is an exercise in contrast. I can’t say I particularly LIKE most of the pieces in this collection – I find many of the looks to be unflattering even on the models wearing them, which bodes poorly for us regular folk, The Little House on the Prairie looks are, unlike the Spring collection, presented without irony. The cut of some of the long coats are a bit more modern and interesting, but for the most part look like costumes. The triangle motif on or around the chest, repeated throughout the collection is clumsy and in many instances feels forced. I simply don’t get the pyjama-jumpsuit thingys. The red seems to come out of nowhere, as do the drapey evening gowns, which aren’t cohesive with the rest of the collection. I think I understand where they are going with this aesthetic but I’m just not finding it as interesting or inspirational as some of their other collections.
Despite this being a spring collection, the tone is very dark and gothic, and is a clear evolution from their Fall 09. Straps, leather, biker mini dresses and the deconstruction that is their signature regardless of the materials. The idea that someone could “be scarred and still beautiful” was the collection’s leitmotif and I think they fully achieved their goal. Their inspiration was a marriage of primitivism with modernism and inspired by the desert and a post-apocalyptic heroine. Rodarte’s themes are always intriguing, if a little complex – which is reflected in their designs.
Gothic Prairie Girl comes to mind when looking at this collection as a whole. Here, the Mulleavy sisters seem to be stretching themselves and it is very exciting. With no black in sight, the color palette seems to have matured away from the more obvious ‘gothic’ to a more unique interpretation. Muted nudes, white, prints(!), crocheting, lace and that wine color work together to give us something really fresh and yet totally Rodarte. Although I saw some truly hideous pieces in this collection, I also some incredible gems.Their layering and combination of elements, when it works, is unparalleled.
Nude, black, Blue, orange and purple. I feel like I can see them riffing off the shoes again here – injecting a little more punk attitude into the mix with the chain, the leather, the little biker gloves and motorcycle-esque jackets. The tights are fab and an obvious evolution of that punk aesthetic. They can’t stay away from drapey and flowy, nor can they resist the urge to use sheers and deconstructed knitwear.
In this collection they fully stepped away from the flowy, romantic gowns and girly dresses of the past few seasons. The predominant theme is of deconstructed futurism. The mini dresses frequently look like armour or battle-gear, including the leather jackets and the leather boots/leggings. Even the knitted work suggests epaulets and a military inspiration. Color comes back in vibrant greens and electric blue metallics.
Forgot to mention this sooner, but here are the links for Rodarte’s official site and New York Fashion, which is where I get all my images from. You can see the complete collections at either of these sites.
A muted palette of white, black, navy blue and pastels in blues, peaches and lilac. A glimpse of their signature deconstructed knitwear and wicked studded shoes. Details like floppy hats, metallics, pleating and sheer layers keep the collection cohesive. Somewhat subdued overall, considering what follows.
A similar palette with an infusion of red, I distinctly remember seeing pieces from this collection in nearly every fashion magazine I picked up at the time. The deconstructed knitwear really shines and is expanded to their spider-web-like tights. (so coveted!) The studded shoe designs are refined and even the sheer, flowy, draped evening gowns seem more polished. You can see the influence of the voluminous skirts from the spring has also transformed away from the pleating and is capturing a dreamier romanticism. A lot of great pieces in this collection.
This collection is a perfect indicator of things to come from the Mulleavy sisters. It is also batshit crazy. I found this one particularly hard to critique because most of it was so bizarre that I couldn’t imagine someone wearing most of it, much less someone designing it and saying to themselves “yeah, that looks good.” Most of the dresses are shapeless sacks and the volume is neither flattering nor particularly interesting. Some of the tailored stuff is interesting but the flowers on nearly every piece get a little overdone. The netting? – I don’t even know…
But this is part of what I love about Rodarte. Their collections are so memorable and weird that you can’t help but appreciate the work and talent going into these clothes, even if you’d never wear them.
Here’s where things really start getting interesting (at least for me). The eclecticism is starting to show here and so is their unique brand of ‘goth romantic girl’ which is a recurring theme. The layering, the texture, the combination of fabrics, and the drapery are all part of their recipe. Here, that recipe is starting to bear really interesting results and as they refine their methods, we will see more and more success in this ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ Rodarte way of doing things.