Flowers amidst the rubble – that was Rodarte’s set today and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong if you were inclined to regard the label itself as precisely that, a flower amongst the concrete of the New York schedule. Kate and Laura Mulleavy remain outsiders in this city, while so many others have packed up and moved here, and it shows. Intriguingly, there were moments in this collection that felt as if the label belonged in Milan – all that ruffled black lace and communion white, the antique orchid and lily headdresses and earrings, the molto embroidery…The sisters are currently in post-production with their first feature film, with a script they wrote – can you imagine their take on an Italian wedding a la Coppola? In fact, there was a tentative connection to the great auteur. The collection was a love letter to San Francisco. Inspiration came from a recent trip back to their university town and a stroll through old haunts like the Caffe Trieste where Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay for The Godfather.
Not that you needed that little backstory to understand the collection. In fact, the most surprising thing about today’s show was how standard Rodarte it was. There was less emphasis on daywear, save for some patchwork leather skirts, the odd ribbed knit and the multi-coloured shaggy goat coats. The tiered and ruffled lace dresses, adorned with sequins and paillettes, feathers and roses and birds – these we’ve come to expect. Spoiled of us, I know, considering how beautiful they are but they weren’t new. New was the abundant use of black leather – yes, a wrap jacket did sport some ruffles but when used as belts and scarves and a ruched halterneck it felt too harsh for the label and not in an ironic ‘bad girl’ kind of way. The sheer Chantilly lace trousers did that and they were fun, if not exactly a bestseller. So, it was refreshing to see the silk floral print zip-up blouses and lace-panelled skirts and trousers and I wish the designers had experimented more with those. No matter, the finale gowns were stunning - you can’t really complain about that.