Gothic glamour staged at a glittering banquet in Brooklyn – a sensational performance and tremendous collection by Rodarte, the first major show of New York Fashion Week, which officially debuted on Friday.
This Fall/Winter 2023 collection marked Rodarte’s return to the New York season post-pandemic. Designing duo of sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy certainly reminding the elite of American fashion why they are such a cult label.
Staged inside the double-domed, neo-classical Williamsburg Bank building, an ideal location for this show, which opened with over a dozen all-black grandiose yet sexy looks.
“Gothic fairies,” said Kate, after this couture worthy show.
Opening with a quintet of modern-day Morticia Addams in marvellous flared gowns; unlaced at the neck, cut décolleté and finished with ground-scraping tulip sleeves.
The Mulleavys have a brilliant sense of cinematic proportion – offering gothic reverend mothers in felt coal black wool coats, completed with gigantic lapels and Jesuit sleeves. Adding glitter; cutting in lace diagonals and finishing with feathers – creating a fantastic sense of occasion. Couture Craft girl camp but always coolly carried out, so the clothes never looked arcane, just astute.
All the cast made up with white make-up, black lipstick and silvery eyeliner – Portlandia posh.
For cocktail hour, daughter Wednesday Addams got a look in with a great series of mid-calf silk dresses, some with ruffled collars.
Tori Amos plaintively singing Winter on the soundtrack, as the show went into overdrive with some grand gowns, enormous trains and models in giant Regency bonnets. Technically, the sisters also took some real risks with the beaded suits that look remarkably airy.
The cast marching under the pilasters and archways of the bank before posing before three tables. Done up as if for a wedding with candelabras, tiered cakes, trays of scones, baskets of fruit all sprayed in silvery glitter, a charming décor by production house Bureau Betak.
At the finale, the all-black mood suddenly changed with a beautiful quartet of dresses created from a series of color pencil drawings by their mother Victoria Rodarte.
“We asked our mom to draw fairies and that’s what she came up with. She’s an artist and our father is a mycologist, a mushroom specialist. And this collection kind of explained us and how we grew up,” Laura smiled.
Translating that to fabric, made their mother’s cartoonish fairies in Kryptonite colors into hyper painterly images, and rather fairy-like, though always with a gothic twist.
One wondered what mom had in mind when sketching the images. “Well, we actually asked her. But she wouldn’t tell us! She hasn’t actually seen them yet,” conceded the sisters.
The sisters started working on the collection back in April, but this is not the first time they have played on a gothic theme. Yet, this collection felt like they have advanced to a new level.
So much so, one could not help wondering why no one in Paris has never invited the Rodarte ladies to take over a couture house? For they are, in effect, Californian couturiers, and all the better for that.
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