Rodarte Fall 2011 Review

Commercial is the wrong word for it, but there’s no debating the fact that Kate and Laura [Mulleavy] are steadily getting savvier about the business end while maintaining their singular vision.

-Nicole Phelps, Style.com

The Mulleavy sisters do it again. Rodarte is one of the most innovative (if not the most innovative) pret-a-porter brand in New York Fashion Week.  For those of you who are not familiar with their work, they have recently done all of the ballet costumes for the Black Swan film, and even though many were betting on it, they were notFall 2011 nominated for an Academy Award. Anyhow, Rodarte’s usually urban-chic, embellished, crafty and artistic look has been subdued for this collection.

As Phelps notes, they got inspired by the film Days of Heaven, directed by Terrence Malick, which is reminiscent of the American Plains. Soft silk chiffon gowns are complimented and contrasted against heavier wheat-colored coats with geometric patterns; such patterns are clearly inspired in American craft needlework: quilts and trapunto. Color blocks in neutral colors create structured silhouettes that diverge from fluid, 40s- inspired long dresses with wheat print on their hems. This woman is slightly different from Rodarte’s clientele, but as Phelps comments in the quote above, the Mulleavy sisters have grasped the commercial viability of their product. The same happened to Alexander McQueen in latter days after his house was financially backed by Gucci, but dear old Alex took longer to realize this point. Rodarte has managed what many New York designers are not able of: create an artistically-inspired collection that is commercially sustainable without compromising their standards and vision and without copying European fashion trends.

Fall 2011

Sheer dress

Fall 2011

Quiltwork savvy

Fall 2011

Notice the wheatgrass print at the hem

Fall 2011

Blue coat

Fall 2011

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