rodarte’s magical, moving fall/winter 16 collection
Weaving together inspirations as diverse as Francis Ford Coppola and moth wings, Kate and Laura Mulleavy celebrated their brand’s ten year anniversary with one of their best collections yet.
photography jason lloyd evans
The wedding scene in The Godfather has everything you could want in terms of drama: romance, crime, bad omens, beautiful costumes. Francis Ford Coppola wrote parts of the movie in "this small cafe in San Francisco," Laura Mulleavy explained after Rodarte's fall/winter 16 show today. And somewhere between those two scenes - 70s San Francisco and the opening of The Godfather - is the magical place from which the Mulleavys' new collection grew.
"I've never cried before [today]," said the Mulleavys' friend Kirsten Dunst, a supporter of the brand since its earliest days, "But I'm so proud." She wasn't alone in feeling teary-eyed. Set to a hypnotic, folky soundtrack arranged by Michel Gaubert, this ruffled, lace-trimmed, flower-covered collection marked Rodarte's tenth birthday, and demonstrated everything they've achieved in the past decade.
As you would expect from a collection that referenced a mafia wedding, hopeful bridal notes were entwined with something darker. "I've looked at love from both sides now," sang Judy Collins (covering Joni Mitchell) as two models - one in a white veil, another in black - made their way through a field of poppies, concrete, and steel slabs. At work everywhere was an opposition between light and dark, fairytale and reality. Mixed in with delicately layered, bead-embroidered gowns and sheer lace pants, were ruffled black leather gloves and buckled leather neck scarves. Real orchids hung from models' ears, while metal flowers formed multicolor hair wreaths. The flowers were partly inspired by Art Nouveau architecture in San Francisco. "We grew up in Northern California, so for me, the things I would reference about the city are much more ephemeral, from my memories," said Laura.
On the subject of ephemerality, the collection's multicolor striped fur coats were a reaction to contemplating moth wings. Specifically, to the question "How can they come in so many different amazing colors and textures?" Meanwhile, the ladders and rips in trailing knit sweaters were intended to evoke moth-eaten holes, Laura explained. It's just the kind of dreamlike narrative that makes Rodarte collections so magical and moving. On the way out of the venue, more than one woman said she'd like to get married right then and there in the clothes.
Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans