It seems almost a miracle that they hadn’t tackled it before. Fantasy role-playing warrior princesses? That’s prime fodder for the overly active imaginations of Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy. This season the Rodarte girl dons the kind of slick hair flip you’d find on a Nintendo game ninja, wearing a metallic dragon ear-piece and cross-hatched wax nails that take fifteen minutes a nail to produce. The sisters are famous for their playfulness with the esoteric little niches of culture they fuse into their clothes. They’ve looked to Star Wars, ‘Frankenstein’, the California condor, the ghostly women of Juarez, Mexico, the Redwoods, Terrence Malick’s ‘Days of Heaven’ and even ‘Sleeping Beauty’; a dive into a medieval fantasy world wasn’t too far behind.
And thank god for that, because they delved into this sinfully fun material at a moment when their commercial viability is at an all-time high. The clothes were adventurous, but pick even the most elaborate looks apart, and you’ll find a whole lot of money in the bank. The Mulleavy’s didn’t skimp on their signature geometries either, stamping giant triangle frontispieces on relaxed blouses and creating square perforated patterns on lace skirts and sweaters.
There were warriors in this Rodarte world, but there were also damsels. The forest of ivy print on the floor-grazing skirt of a dress recalled Henri Rousseau’s painting ‘The Snake Charmer’, and the printed garland on the tee above pleated in the middle by a swath of black shantung – it was as elegant as anything the sisters have ever made. But the glory here belonged to the girls of a tougher mien. Armor was a big story, starting off with the brocaded cuirasses that wrapped around the opening jacquard dresses. The chain link halter neckline on a mini dress was a subtle and very sexy touch as well. What will be remembered, even after three more cities of fashion weeks on the other side of the ocean, will be those leather fringe rocker jackets, each of which carried just the right amount of novelty and nostalgia. Though, those skin-tight leather perforated pants, covered by a torrent of cross-laced grommets, may give the jackets a run for their money when the editorials start to kick in.