Color us biased, but New York Fashion Week has ended, and that means it’s time to check in with our favorite sartorial contender: Rodarte, the high-fashion label founded by Pasadena sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy.
Once again, Rodarte racked up solid praise from fashion’s top critics for their fall 2011 ready-to-wear collection. Dominated by bucolic, creamy neutrals, the showing was a nice departure from some of the more somber palettes they’ve favored — albeit, to dramatic success — in the past.
After the jump, more photos, and some choice quotes from the critics:
If you’re paying even a modicum of attention to the Hollywood awards season, you may have heard of a little film called “Black Swan.” Actress Natalie Portman is knee-deep in praise and various honorary statuettes for her lead performance in the movie.
Pasadena sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy — the design forces behind Rodarte — have also received many accolades for producing some of the film’s most notable costume designs.
At left, that’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy with Portman at a “Black Swan” screening in November.
They created 40 different costume pieces for “Black Swan,” from the main character’s featured ensembles down to her knitwear. (The Mulleavys were ineligible for a formal Oscar nod, because they weren’t credited in the film and weren’t members of the Costume Designers Guild at the time.)
Laura Mulleavy said in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily that one artistic influence was Edgar Degas’ bronze ballerina.
“We always loved the distressed skirt,” she told WWD.
And, Pasadenans can get a firsthand view of the Degas sculpture, “Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen,” 1878-81, on display at the Norton Simon Museum. (Seen at right, in a file photo courtesy of the museum.)
It’s not the first time the sisters have drawn inspiration from local museums and culture. They have before cited such iconic Pasadena institutions as the Norton Simon, The Huntington and even The Raymond as personal favorites.
See some of the Mulleavys’ “Black Swan” sketches after the jump:
Rodarte began in Pasadena, and the sisters behind the Los Angeles-based fashion label are once again drawing oceans of praise at New York Fashion Week. For their spring 2011 collection, Laura and Kate Mulleavy balanced their legendary streak of dark whimsy with wearable, well-structured, imaginative pieces, making this their most approachable showing yet.
Here’s what top fashion writers and critics are saying about the Mulleavys latest collection, which draws inspiration from the natural beauty of California:
“California dreamin’ has always been part of the story for Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters who have more often focused on blood-stained streaks from horror movies. But this time the duo looked beyond their Los Angeles studio and went back to their suburban Pasadena, California, roots. … Arts and Crafts have long been a strong focus in California. Rodarte has always been drawn to the handmade and artisanal, but this show was a fine example of designers moving their own ideas forward to become both more accessible and more desirable.”
If you’re planning a trip to New York between now and mid-March, there’s a new exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum that focuses on Pasadena residents Kate and Laura Mulleavy — they of the acclaimed U.S. fashion label Rodarte.
The exhibit delves into the Mulleavys’ unique process of creation; The sisters execute complex manipulation of materials and meticulous techniques, first deconstructing and then rebuilding the elements into high fashion.
As an example, from January’s lengthy New Yorker profile by Amanda Fortini:
“They often speak of ‘building’ a dress. To create their garments, which tend to include a multitude of textiles (and finicky ones, like tulle, organza, leather, and lace), adornments (crystals, feathers, rosettes), and techniques (draping, pleating, dyeing), the Mulleavys work with a team of three seamstresses, a pattern-maker, a dyer, a leather worker, and three knitters. One mid-length yellow chiffon dress from the 2006 fall collection took a hundred and fifty hours to complete.”
Let’s talk about those shoes.
They lit up the Rodarte runway like fireflies in an unearthly darkness, and managed somehow to be ever-so-much cooler than the effect of white confetti under black lights.
SHOWstudio, which earlier today carried the impressive live stream of Rodarte’s fall/winter 2010 collection, had this to say, of the shoes, on its blog:
“These strapped and sliced Nicholas Kirkwood shoes — with their cut-out sportswear-inspired fronts contradicted by illuminated fairytale melting wax heels — were just the cherry on the cake of a captivating collection that is undoubtedly one of the finest of the week so far. You can keep the heels, girls — we’re walking on air!”
You can, and should, catch the whole runway show, on-demand, at SHOWstudio.
Some close-ups, with variety:
Pasadena’s own denizens Laura and Kate Mulleavy came out strong at New York Fashion Week this morning in Rodarte‘s fall 2010 collection, worthy of an ethereal ghost bride with a penchant for neutrals, lace and a touch of pearls.
Still present were their bold textures and patchwork layering, but the muted color palette put a dreamlike haze over the affair. Where before their designs were almost tribal, that quality was overtaken by a spectral, romantic glow.
The Mulleavys have said they were inspired, among other things, by the notion of sleepwalking.
The New York Times Style Magazine-run blog The Moment is keeping an unofficial-official Scorecard for New York Fashion Week, and like we said in our previous post on Pasadena’s (most ever?) dynamic fashion duo, Rodarte is sweeping up accolades for its Tuesday showing.
Alison S. Cohn of The Moment puts it this way: