There was a total change of pace as a series of dramatic crimson gowns hit the runway.
Is it any wonder that Rodarte’s collection for Autumn/Winter 2011 has been the uncontested highlight of the week? It goes without saying that it is the show to attend during New York Fashion Week (well, and Proenza Schouler), because each season under the Mulleavy sister’s eccentric and energising spell, we are given a potent reminder of just what it is that made us fall in love with fashion to begin with. Their exceptional spun-from-air aesthetic is as near to art as fashion – and in a city as commercial (fashion-wise) as New York, it is essential to have a brand that remains as true to their instincts and unconventional vision as Rodarte. This season, the Mulleavy sisters took a trip out to the country, David Hamilton fresh-faced prairie style, by way of seventies Laura Ashley – and it was a nostalgic journey well-worth taking.
Warm, pure, sunlit hues took to the catwalk: yellow, soft ochre, washed-out peach, bone and cornflower blue made up the optimistic palette, at times broken up by graphic black and white print sections and panels, that while striking, disrupted the overall flow of the collection. The soundtrack – a genuinely barn-dance worthy ‘country’ twanging guitar with equally twanging male vocals, took the nouveau-prairie ensembles into an imagined rural context where fields of daisies and straw-bales, blue skies and fluffy white clouds came immediately to mind – a fantastic, sartorial Oklahoma if you will. Dainty without being stuffy, dresses and full skirts in antique-feel crochet, cotton and chiffon fell to mid-calf, textures throughout were earthy and featured cosy hand-crafted details like geometric paneling and grandpa knits adding to the overall lived-in, old-world attitude. There was a total change of pace as a series of dramatic crimson gowns hit the runway, a particular show-stopper donned by a contentedly smiling-smirking Karlie Kloss. It was a marked change from the rest of the collection, and proof that the Mulleavy’s still have eveningwear down to a fine art - but following Rodarte's inspired foray into daywear proper last season, it was exciting to see the sisters so successfully continue the theme.