It is always intriguing to see how a rather random inspiration (at least to me) manifests itself in the Mulleavy sisters’ latest collection. Fall 2012 began as an exploration on the history of the building of Australia (from the Victorian era to the late thirties) and resulted in a thoughtful forties redux. While this collection is probably their most ready-to-wear as of late, Laura and Kate Mulleavy lose none of Rodarte’s trademark romanticisim. They have just translated their poetic vision into real life, adding a dose of utilitarian practicality to the artistic dreaminess which could very well push their brand on a whole different level.
Every season, I always characterize a fair amount of the collections as “romantic” or “ethereal,” but there is something about Rodarte that takes it beyond mere flight of fancy. There is a thoughtfulness and intelligence to the Mulleavy sisters’ work that clearly comes across. I would never apply “whimsical” to a Rodarte collection; nothing about what they do feels trivial. And I really like that, that their thought process is so readily apparent in their pieces. I love that there is always an avant garde quality about the collection–regardless of commercial appeal.
Oh, and the late thirties/forties silhouette is lovely as well. The tailoring is built layer by layer with the texture offsetting the clean lines. I like how all the elements come together for a rather unique take on structured outerwear, resulting in beautifully constructed looks. The texture and print are brilliantly thought out with pointed paint splatters and shadowy finger painting alluding to aboriginal art. I love how they appear like broad strokes of a painting as the effect creates a look that is a bit blurred at the edges. Plus, these poetic pieces are anchored by delightfully rounded clogs and boots. The shape is interestingly modern, and the heaviness to them is fantastic. I like how they can come across as both utilitarian and mod. I shouldn’t really be surprised as combining seemingly incongruous genres has always been a specialty of the Mulleavy sisters.
While I’m sure that many appreciate the realism to Rodarte Fall 2012, I sort of miss the drama to their more elaborate collections. Though, this is probably a smart business decision on their part so I can’t really complain. But an intricate collection for the sake of art in the near future wouldn’t be amiss either :)