What to do with Rodarte? It’s been a while since Kate and Laura Mulleavy showed the consistency of their early work, which wowed with exquisite, oddball curiosity. Aside from spring’s strong, strange romance, the past few years have been marked by an unevenness that was apparent again on their fall runway.
Backstage before the show, Laura said she and her sister had been thinking of “migrating birds, the idea of leaving the city and maybe going to the country or somewhere more pastoral.” Bear in mind that one of their primary propositions on the runway was stretch leather leggings so skintight the models could have been mistaken for a cattle call for a “Grease” revival. Some of the leggings had lace panels down the side, others looked like leather HotPants over lace tights, but were actually one piece. They were paired with draped satin and lace blouses with billowy Seventies blouson sleeves and the occasional oversize tweed anorak with fox fur trim. The statement shoes were thigh-high embossed black crocodile and patent gaters, like a stardusted version of rugged outdoor footwear. Not everything in this portion of the show looked as expensive as it should have.
But the clothes had the intimacy and personal touch that often gets pulverized by branding. A dreamy whisp of a disco slipdress came in shades of mauve and lavender beading and tulle, swirled around the body and trimmed in feathers. It was pretty and special — so were the finale of Seventies glam dresses made of vertical strips of sequined tulle, some with a single suggestive shoulder. Similar models cannot be found on the current market, which is rare and refreshing, even if the direction of the Rodarte brand is still unresolved.