11. Rodarte Fall 2012
|Rodarte Fall 2012: Key Looks|
The most frequent and obvious criticism of Rodarte clothing is the question of its wearability. It’s the old art vs. commerce debate: in essence, how are Kate and Laura Mulleavy supposed to sustain a fashion house if the work they’re producing makes a powerful artistic statement but lacks the tangibility or functionality of most ready-to-wear clothing? Let’s face it: fashion – especially luxury fashion – is a business, and oftentimes the Mulleavys are chided for their “art for art’s sake” approach to clothing.
Now let’s introduce their Fall 2012 collection, an ode to Australia, rife with earth tones and ‘40s influences. This was the first time that the sisters ventured outside of their mostly Californian/Americana geographical reference points since their Japan-inspired 2008 work. So while the Mulleavys’ work was reverent to the country’s history (case in point: the finale dresses were rendered in an Aboriginal cave-art print), it marked a departure from the sisters’ past collections.
Most noticeable was the fact that this Rodarte lady was a little rougher and a lot more practical than usual. Sure, the romance was there – the starry hair accessories were divine – but it was tempered by the more utilitarian aspects of the collection (namely the focus on coats and cargo pants). The 1940s tailoring and silhouettes underscored this notion of practicality. The clothing had purpose, and as such was lauded by critics who supported the collection’s range and commercial appeal.
There was a real beauty in the sisters’ Fall 2012 work and some absolute standout, statement-making daywear, but I missed the whimsy I associate with their clothing in this particular showing. The Mulleavys weren’t designing for girls here, but rather women, and self-sufficient ones at that. And while there was now a level of pragmatism in the Rodarte universe, I’m not sure if the collection was as "felt" and inspired as some of their other showings. Don't get me wrong, though - I adored this collection, and I appreciate how it fits into and contributes to the Rodarte oeuvre.