rodarte finds freedom in poetry for spring/summer 16

Kate and Laura Mulleavy showed an intricate, highly embellished collection inspired by poets from Emily Dickinson to Leonard Cohen to Yeats.

by Rory Satran
15 September 2015, 11:45pm

Emily Dickinson, the notoriously eccentric and brilliant American poet who lived with her family in Amherst, Massachusetts for her entire life, was one of the inspirations for today's fiercely individual Rodarte collection. Like Dickinson, Kate and Laura Mulleavy live sequestered near their parents (in Pasadena), and are committed to reinventing their craft without interference. Emily wrote short, irregular prose filled with weird hyphens; the Mulleavys make embellishment-heavy clothing driven by unusual techniques and narratives.

Backstage after the show, Kate said, "I think it's really important as a designer to follow your own voice. Over the years of designing I feel like I know what my voice is, and I'm very comfortable exploring it. And to be free. There are so many amazing things in the world, I just need to be free with what I can do, because that's going to be what's unique to me."

What is unique to Rodarte was vividly expressed in this show: lacy power-princess dresses, metallic Disco-delicate mega-heels, huge furry coats, and their new signature, high-waisted sparkly Bowie suiting. Each look requires a second look (at least) - with layers of textiles intricately enmeshed together. Dresses combine paisley chiffon, multiple laces, metallic embroidery, and feathered fringe. A lot? For sure. But unabashedly them.

The complex layering ties in to the poetics theme. "When we make clothing one of the things that we do is we use a lot of textiles, and we layer them," said Laura. "And it's like language, when people decode and read inferences into it and they understand it in different ways, so I guess that's similar." These are pieces that demand multiple readings, and multiple interpretations.


Text Rory Satran
Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans

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