Total Magic. Rodarte AW23

Rodarte‘s return to New York Fashion Week was a magical treat we all needed. A banquet was set with candle-lit chandeliers, baskets of fruits, and multi-tiered cakes, all covered in silver glitter and placed on silver tablecloths. This was a brunch for Rodarte fairies that were about to fly down the runway. “For whatever reason, this season we were like, ‘we wanna do something inspired by fairies.’ Laura and Kate Mulleavy explained. “Our mom’s an artist so we asked her, ‘Can you draw us some fairies?’” She did. Her colored pencil illustrations were then blown up and placed across airy caftans with feather or ruffled chiffon trims. Very whimsy and very witchy, as well as weird and romantic. This being a Rodarte show, the fairies weren’t just fairies. They were gothic fairies (in Siouxsie Sioux-inspired eye makeup and black lipstick). Laura and Kate have always had a penchant for finding beauty in darkness, but the darkness wasn’t so much horror as it was maybe a sense of time that’s passed. But whatever it was, the gothic fairies led the Mulleavys to a collection full of glamorous evening gowns. A series of languid jersey numbers with dramatic bell sleeves opened the show. They were followed by different versions in burnout velvet, embellished with sequins or with floral appliqués, the sleeves dragging shredded cheese cloth that had been dyed black; one of the designers’ favorite old techniques that they brought back this season. The Mulleavys also brought back their signature cobweb knits, made by hand from a collage of materials and textures: the one in shades of yellow with bits of silver felt joyous. Elsewhere, black satin bias-cut dresses had a 1930s feel with Victorian details like V-shaped lace insets, velvet mutton-sleeve bodies with white lace trim, and white lace capelets. Four models wore bulbous shapes made entirely from metallic fringe. They were powerful and fun, and the way they caught the light as the models walked down the runway brought an element of whimsy and fantasy to the collection. The silver one was added to the lineup last minute, after the silver banquet was suggested for the set design. “You have to stay open; every day you have a new creative point and until the last minute you’re still pushing to make it better and more your story,” Laura said. She was talking about the silver gown, but she could’ve been speaking about their creative approach as a whole. “This show, to me, is exactly who we are as designers,” Kate added.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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