Gothic fairies at a glitter-bombed banquet.
It’s an idea that could only have come from the magical minds of Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who set the bar high for New York Fashion Week with their dreamy season opener on Friday, using silver glitter-covered banquet tables for a runway set.
Summoning their cinematic sense (and a bit of inspiration from Netflix hit “Wednesday,” perhaps), they showed an intoxicating collection of evening looks, which are after all what keeps their Hollywood fans, front-row guests Natasha Lyonne and Brie Larson included, coming back.
The designers made a convincing case for the return of the black gown, starting with slinky, Morticia-like styles that had sweeping trumpet sleeves to the floor, and off-the-shoulder silhouettes or lacing in front. Gradually things became more ornate, in shimmering black lace with cape effects, with sequined insets and silk ties, and the ne plus ultra, black velvet trimmed in shredded cheesecloth like wisps of smoke.
The Mulleavys’ level of hand craft was evident throughout, on a black beaded windowpane tweed top and asymmetric skirt and on their signature spidery mélange knits, which made a comeback as wicked-looking gowns with trailing sleeves.
Slipdresses have become a Rodarte mainstay, and there were lots to love in black silk edged in tiny blue ruffles with matching veil, in black topped with a white doily lace collar à la Wednesday Addams, or in emerald green with black lace insets. The designers continued to push the boudoir theme with sexy, floral-embroidered tulle and peekaboo black lace gowns that concealed and revealed in all the right places, some with pretty puffed sleeves.
Nails sharpened to talons, winged eyeliner, ruffled bonnets and calla lily bouquets added to the gothic horror-tinged romance.
It wasn’t all dark, however. About midway, they let loose a full-on Technicolor fantasia of sequined lace flared tunics and pants, dresses of bugle beaded fringe as fine as hair, and caftans in naive fairy prints drawn by the designers’ mother, Victoria Rodart.
Tinsel-fringed dresses were as big as haystacks, and a silver sequined dress with tinsel skirt and cape, glittery wings and crown brought to mind a modern-day Glinda the Good Witch.
“Our dad is a mycologist, or a mushroom specialist, and our mom is an artist, which I think explains a lot about this collection,” Kate Mulleavy said after the show.
Free your mind and the rest will follow.