For all their oh-gosh naïf mystique, Kate and Laura Mulleavy havesome potent subversion, maybe even a little kink, coursing through theirveins. For spring, the fantastical quality that defines their work,whether dark or romantic — in this case, both — featured an aggressivestreak. “It’s not subdued at all,” said Laura a few days before theshow. “It’s about medieval things and role-playing games.”

What’s your pleasure? Knight? Princess? Hell’s Angel? A statementin power-dressing for Rodarte’s quirky fan club, the show referencedarmored warriors, road warriors and, it must be noted, NicolasGhesquière. It was an imaginative mix of strange beauty. Short,strapless dresses shown layered over tight, printed turtlenecks hadbodices shaped like partial octagons that jutted away from the body likea breastplate. Other variations on the armor motif included waistlinesembellished with draped chains and corsetlike metal embroidery on long,fluid gowns for those whose fantasy is less iron, more maiden. Also onthe role-play menu: bohemian biker bitch in fabulously robust blackleather, including lace-up pants and quilted jackets with ample fringeand colorful silk trim.

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