Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy switched things up this season, foregoing a theatrical runway show for a theatrical portrait series they released online last week. The L.A. designers enlisted women in their orbit to pose for them (many have worn their dresses on the red carpet), including Kirsten Dunst, Yalitza Aparicio, Kilo Kish, January Jones, Gabrielle Union, the Haim sisters and more.
“It’s interesting to be able to share ideas in multimedia ways,” said Kate Mulleavy during a preview of the collection. “I love a show, but sometimes your mind-set doesn’t want to express in that way, and I feel like we have to follow that. And I feel like the audiences are ready for new ideas and to disrupt things.”
They shot the entire series over one week in L.A. “It did feel like casting a film in a sense,” said Laura Mulleavy. (The designer-filmmakers made their directorial debut with the 2017 film “Woodshock” and have completed a script for a second movie.) “Luckily the brand has a following so people wanted to come on board with us creatively.”
As pretty as the pictures are, the clothes are even prettier in person. It’s worth noting that the designers took an aesthetic turn as well this season, away from flower-decorated and ethereal and into the kind of elegant, Eighties power dressing that has been percolating in New York in such collections as Proenza Schouler.
Their vision of diva-glam involves dramatic ruffles and polka dots, outsized sleeves and short skirts that made one want to dress up and go out. Standouts included a teal sequined wrap jacket with pearl hand-beading at the neckline, a bow at the waist and a matching fitted skirt — and boots! “Can you believe it? Sequin boots. That’s my favorite,” Laura said of the look.
A watercolor floral, puff-sleeved top and ruffled wrap skirt caught the eye of L.A. fashionista Katherine Ross, who dropped into the showroom to do some shopping for herself. “It’s a three-in-one,” Kate explained. “People always think all our things are dresses, but there are a lot of tops and skirts that can be worn with T-shirts or jeans.”
For Hollywood nights, a pale gold sequined, drop-waist jumpsuit was ready to boogie, and a silver sequined dress with dreamy aqua tulle skirt and draped shoulder was as icy-cool as Grace Kelly’s famous Edith Head Oscars gown.
The Mulleavys are busy women — they also have a just-launched Cole Haan capsule collection, with lace and stud-detailed patent leather satchels and shooties that, when compared to their clothing, fans can buy for a song.