The Mulleavy sisters know how to tell a story. Season after season, they weave delightful storylines delivered through their looks, transporting us to magical fairylands, kinetic 80’s proms, and gothic towers hiding powerful princesses waiting to unleash their powers. With a triumphant return to New York Fashion Week this season, Laura and Kate Mulleavy gave us Rodarte at it’s finest. Set in the gothic hallows of Saint Bartholomew’s Church in midtown Manhattan, the sister’s referenced the story of Dracula as an inspiration, not so much the mythical creature himself. Still, perhaps the damsels he preyed upon, innocent and beautiful until he turns them, and they become creatures of darkness themselves.
The collection did a beautiful job telling that story, beginning with a series of youthful, hopeful dresses and ensembles, starting with model Bella Hadid’s red and white polka dot day dress, complete with white gloves, a tulle veil, and black lipstick hinting at the drama to come. Plaids and flowers and sequins came next with the traditional Rodarte flair of puffed-up sleeves, layered ruffles, and high necklines. The darkness crept in slowly with a dramatic shining dark blue coat dress with sharp shoulders and hood, turning into black pieces adorned with dangling pearl and ruby accents. Long black fringe swept side to side as a cape embellished with glittering appliqués and hanging off houndstooth. Spider pins appeared, and a stunning white dress captured in the middle by a black cobweb, topped with a black tulle veil looking a dark bridal presence. White dresses followed, a return to innocence perhaps, or the surrendering of such? A stunning sheer gown with a daringly low neckline was adorned with strategically placed crystals and wrapped with a stole of vibrant purple flowers, creating a look that was equal parts temptress and goddess. The collection commenced with a demure silk dress followed by a 20-foot train and a headdress of blue flowers and tulle. An epic ending to a sweeping tale of love and darkness, the two themes Rodarte does best.
By Elizabeth Kramsky