Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rodarte: 10th Place Collection

10. Rodarte Spring 2011

Rodarte Spring 2011: Key Looks

It takes a while for me to totally digest and absorb a Rodarte collection before I begin to truly appreciate it.  It’s weird.  I mean, there’s that initial visceral impact I get when I first see their new work, but it’s difficult for me to form a really sound and coherent opinion on what it was that moved me about the work in general until I’m aware of its context.  

Rodarte Spring 2011: Key Looks
Something I admire about the Mulleavys’ creative approach is the fact that their reference points for a single collection are so unique to one another yet personal and meaningful to the designers.  Because of this, however, the connection between their inspirations for a single collection aren’t immediately ostensible to their audience.  I’m afraid that if I was at one of their shows and asked by like Tim Blanks or someone who I thought the Rodarte girl was that season that I would totally bomb and give some really dumb answer (“uh… someone who really loves tie-dye?”) because their collections can’t really be distilled down to a singular idea or statement.
Rodarte Spring 2011 Beauty c/o Vogue
So I was admittedly confounded when I first viewed the Spring 2011 collection (from my dormitory kitchen, I might add, because my life is GLAMOROUS).  It was obviously seventies-inspired in silhouette and detailing (those wood panel prints reminded me of the playroom in my family’s house growing up), and there were clear references to Ming vases, but I really wasn’t sure how it all connected together.  Throw in the woodland nymph styling and gilded gladiator dresses which closed the show and yeah… I liked the collection because it was full of interesting and beautifully made clothing, but I couldn’t completely appreciate it yet because I didn’t understand the season’s story.

That’s where some light research (ahem, Google) comes into play.  In his review of the ‘ancient coast’-themed collection, Vogue staffer Mark Holgate wrote that the sisters “had been considering the historical and cultural links between that part of the West Coast and Japan and China.”  Thanks for elucidating, Mark.  No but really, I could now kind of envision the relationship between the Spring 2011 seventies suburbanites and golden goddesses as something conversational and exploratory rather a linear or evolutionary narrative.

Rodarte Spring 2011 by Autumn de Wilde

There’s also no denying the fact that these incongruent elements all melded together into something very distinctly Rodarte.  Sure, at the time these ideas seemed kind of disjointed to me, but the clothing interested me enough on an aesthetic level to seek out the story behind it… and isn’t that kind of the point of intelligent fashion design? 

P.S.  KILLER shoes.  Seriously, kudos to Rodarte and Nicholas Kirkwood for those beautifully sculpted and fabulously detailed platforms.

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