THE music may have been vintage Seventies (Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin” from Midnight Cowboy, The Doors’ “The End”, and “Ventura Highway” by America), and their stated inspiration may have been “ancient coast” (as in their home state of California). But, the spring/summer 2011 collection Rodarte presented in Chelsea Tuesday afternoon was nothing if not forward-thinking.
More pared-down than in seasons past, the collection Laura and Kate Mulleavy unveiled (to an audience that included DVF, ALT, Kim Gordon, Elijah Wood, Rachel Zoe, Tavi, Liz Goldwyn, Serena Williams and Kanye West), was, in a word - make that three words - drop dead gorgeous.
Tempering their tendency to go off on a highly imaginative - if somewhat unwearable – whim, sticking closer to home, grounded the sisters’ designs in an entirely new and completely authentic way.
So instead of bloody ballerinas, sleepwalking night-shift workers, and molting condors, we were treated to beautifully textured, beautifully cut clothing that could actually be worn by modern-day, living and breathing women. To wit: Brown and white check guipure lace pants paired with a peachy plaid Chinese collar blouse. A hip-swagged dress with a leaf-print bodice atop a wood-print skirt, and a series of stunning blue and white Ming print peplumed dresses, one of which, worn by Karlie Kloss, was cut out just above the waist to reveal a discreetly tantalizing triangle of flesh.
But it wasn’t all flora and fauna at chez Rodarte, for the designers also evolved the layered look they introduced last season, though it was rendered here with a newfound maturity and restraint. And they offered at least half a dozen bold gold dresses that would certainly appeal to Hollywood’s more adventures premiere-going starlets.