Photography Mitchell Sams. 

rodarte's floral designs came alive in the rain

New York's Marble Cemetery was visited by the hauntingly beautiful collection by Kate and Laura Mulleavy.

by Jack Sunnucks
10 September 2018, 3:09pm

Photography Mitchell Sams. 

Rodarte’s collections are perhaps most moving when the duo add something a little sour to their beautiful designs — whether a horror movie inspiration or a jarring soundtrack. This season was no different, except the twist wasn’t by choice. Showing at the lovely Marble Cemetery would seem like a great idea, unless it’s absolutely pouring, which was what happened yesterday. Guests sat wetly while the rain pooled in their shoes, huddled under umbrellas and sharing coats. The (admittedly mild) discomfort, however, added something intangible to Rodarte’s searingly pretty designs — the wistful feeling of loss, a touch of Edgar Allan Poe to the floral gowns. Or maybe it was just really dramatic showing during a storm, the kind of special effects you can’t pay for.

Whatever the symbolism, this was a strong return for Kate and Laura Mulleavy after a two year hiatus from NYFW. Their first look was a cascade of black leather ruffles — girlish, yes, but imbued with a kind of hard intent. Their models looked like exceedingly glamorous ghosts as they drifted through the gravestones, flowers in their hair and rouge on their cheeks. Ruffles were a motif throughout, and done in a myriad of ways. From the aforementioned leather, which also came in metallic red, to delicate lace gowns, the designers found ways to ruffle absolutely everything. It was a doubling down on Rodarte’s specialness, with no attempt at the oft-vaunted ‘commercial pieces.’ Who needs commercial pieces when nobody’s buying clothes, one might ask. It seems a surer strategy to concentrate on what the sisters are good at, which are heart stoppingly pretty dresses.

The finale, as ever, saw the models stood in a neon ringed tableau, the veiled finale looks looking both extravagant and somber in the rain. As the designers emerged, looking ever so slightly sheepish, it was hard to tell whether the thunderous applause was just that, or actual benediction from the overcast sky.

spring/summer womenswear 19