'This is the most Rodarte show we’ve ever made,' said Laura Mulleavy backstage after yesterday’s show. And it would be impossible to disagree: Paris definitely suits the Mulleavy sisters. 9000 miles away from their native Los Angeles, the designers managed to make themselves at home, choosing to show in a 16th century hospital cloister in the 14ème arrondissement. Not exactly central, but definitely a real Parisian neighbourhood, cosy and pretty, made better by the fact that the rain that had poured all day was swapped by a glowing sun just in time for the show.
The excitement among the local crowd was palpable. Editors and buyers – including Colette’s Sarah Andelman, one of the first to ever buy the brand – cheerily walked around the venue taking pictures. It was certainly a sight: the rational jardin à la française had been taken over by hundreds of English roses in all kinds of hallucinogenic colours, planted there for the occasion. It was pretty but also perverse… just like the collection.
As the designers said, their starting point was Robert Altman’s 1977 film 3 Women. The reference was particularly visible in the colour palette, a mix of white, powder pink, almond and sorbet yellow with some black and crimson touches. There were Americana details to the folksy-cut dresses and the snakeskin motifs embroidered in the shoes and the boots, fairy-tale dresses in lace, flower prints, sheer chiffon and frills, and even embellished leather ensembles crossing over into kawaii territory. In short, everything the Rodarte girl (and most girls, period) is a pushover for. And it was all made even more dreamy thanks to the flower embellishments present everywhere, from the models’ hair and their wrists - à la prom corsage - to the crowns, bouquets and stoles made out of baby’s breath. The artful arrangements were made by the Californian floral designer Joseph Free, who was flown in from Los Angeles for the occasion by the Mulleavys. Combining their creativity, the three of them managed to create, as the French would say, 'un moment magique'.