Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rodarte: Ranking the Collections

My love affair with Rodarte began in 2008.  I was a college freshman and reading ELLE and was struck by an editorial featuring Jena Malone and this other flavor-of-the-week-ish actress. 

I had really only gotten into fashion about a year prior (hence the magazine choice), but at the time I was living for those Balenciaga gladiator sandals and was all excited at how the stylist kept using them throughout the shoot.  Somewhere in the middle of the spread, Jena was wearing them with this tulle dress that I absolutely didn’t get.  It just seemed so… random?  Like the beading seemed just so inconsistent, and then there were these oddly-placed ruffled portions, and yeah, it was just so different from the Alexander McQueen and Dolce &Gabbana that I was used to.

My confusion (seriously, like, my initial impression of Rodarte was similar to the one I got from Meadham Kirchhoff) soon gave way to intrigue, though.  I read about the Mulleavy sisters, the non-traditional, artistic ways in which they crafted their garments, how they tied these seemingly disparate reference points and inspirations into gorgeous and meaningful collections, and I became obsessed.  

What I appreciate most about the Mulleavys, besides the obvious artistry of their clothing, is the evolving narrative of their Rodarte girl over the twelve collections they’ve put out since that editorial.  Seriously, while Kate and Laura always maintain the intellectual, romantic DNA of their brand in their collections, there are such distinct stories within the Rodarte oeuvre.  While there are reoccurring motifs in their work, each season feels fresh, experimental, even, and makes a unique artistic statement.  

Now… take all of this and couple it with my compulsion to categorize and list things.  What do you have? My next twelve blog posts, of course!  I’ve always wanted to do this, and to be honest, I need a way to procrastinate from personal statements and CVs and the like but still feel productive.  It was actually very difficult to come up with a solid ranking of the twelve collections (I’m choosing not to include the first four Rodarte collections, since they were “before my time,” if you will, and would all end up getting booted first in succession anyways), and to be honest, I’m not even sure that my top five will stay the same between now and when I write their posts.  But this seems like a fun idea and I hope fashion-lovers in general will enjoy reading my take on these collections!  Here's a quick rundown of the collections I will be ranking…