During this digital age of lightning speed, contemporary design techniques and an ever-present futuristic focus, a funky dose of DIY is always thoroughly appreciated and welcomed with open arms. Season after season, the Mulleavy sisters have continued to impress, enthrall and excite the fashion world with their effortless skill and other-wordly design aesthetic. Drawing inspiration from their childhood home of Santa Cruz, the collection features more of an interpreted insight into their memories as opposed to a literal derivation of Santa Cruz style. As said by Nicole Phelps, "the clothes are more a product of the Mulleavys' imaginations and their fond memories of their younger days than anything you'll see walking around the California beach town."
Believe me, I tried, and it was really really hard to spot a flaw in this collection. It set the tone and nailed the expectations of what every fall/winter ready-to-wear presentation should include. There was an appropriate sense of sophistication woven through the show from start to finish; even the blooming ruffles and cream-colored satin felt more 'grunge-princess' than 'innocent flower child' (a la spring/summer). In true DIY style there was a wonderful excess of fabric in many of the looks, yet not a single ensemble struck me as overdone, crowded or "drowning" the model in unnecessary swathes of cloth. As shown in the extreme left image above, more voluminous pieces were cleverly balanced out by mannish, curt accents such as blazers and tailored shoulders. The clean duochrome footwear probably marked the peak of modernity in this show, but managed to successfully blend in thanks to the inclusion of the cutest floral-patterned ankle socks ever.
As the collection progressed, experimentation with color and contrast took flight in the form of these showstopping gowns ("kaleidoscope" doesn't sound like such a hyperbole anymore!). It's more than just a 'slight risk' when you implement primary colors, awkward nude leggings and a medley of gemstones onto a native-looking smock top (second from right), and it's no easy feat to stick a tailored "cap" on a flowy gown either (second from left), but Rodarte has clearly done some successful risk-evaluation and nailed both uncanny looks. My favorite has to be the translucent floral sheath pictured in the extreme-left and the centre look - what a great way to add a dash of seductiveness! Also, tie-dye has never looked this hot.
Mottled? Dappled? Stone-washed? An artistic interpretation of a cloudy day? I'm not too sure how to accurately address this print, but I'm in love with it. It's stunning versatility and high "style success rate" is encompassed in the pictures above - be it flowy skirts, sensual knotted dresses or v-neck frocks, I want me some mysterious cloud-printed ANYTHING in my wardrobe, pronto.
Black has to be the Mulleavy sisters' go-to color, because it embodies and enhances everything the brand stands for: versatility, theatrics, artistic clothing and stylistic techniques. Sure enough, the sisters did this season's black with their usual effortlessness. Sexy black leotards, plenty of slouch, heavy leathery fabrics and cloaks makes "black on black on black on black" endlessly appealing The metallic accessories were amongst the few aspects of this collection that were placed with the intention to match and blend in.
Rodarte has always struck me as a beautiful explosion of intertwined cultural references, unexpected combinations and ornate expressions of a truly artistic vision.
What did you think of Rodarte's Fall 2013 RTW collection?