Monday, October 3, 2011

Back to Fashion: Rodarte

I had a lot of fun writing about fall fashion this year. Much of that time was spent on designers who are more traditional, which is an aesthetic I admire and am drawn to. Rodarte is a bit off the beaten path for me but I was delighted by the fall line and didn’t want the season to go by without a mention.

Rodarte is the brainchild of sisters Katie and Laura Mulleavy. They’ve captured the eye of any number of hip Hollywood types like Keira Knightly and Natalie Portman but I’d found their looks in previous seasons to be very hit or miss between sheer frothiness and a bit of that leather S&M look I wish would go away.

Previous looks from Rodarte

I was pleasantly surprised, then, to see that their fall line took a simpler, more wearable tone. Could it be the collaboration with Target? No, apparently the inspiration was the movie Days of Heaven. Based on the long flowing dresses and fitted coats I felt a Sense and Sensibility vibe but that’s just me.

Wherever it came from this line hit the spot with subtle feminine looks and a touch of whimsy. This was a nice counterpoint to much of the bold color, retro, color blocking, or charred androgyny (hello Chanel) used by many of the other designers. Here there were soft fabrics in teensy prints used in classic silhouettes with a twist, like the cross front motif. The whimsy was in quilted, appliquéd bodices on several dresses, but it walked the line between charming and childish, coming down firmly on the side of charming.

Other nice touches were the collar-as-necklace look on a number of pieces, just a hint of skin between bodice and neck. That plus, the play between soft dresses and chunky boots made the line feel even more original and fresh. Finally, the pants were one of the most flattering of the high-waisted looks with slimming slant pockets.

So, while much of the fashion I showed at the beginning of September was from more establisheddesigners, Rodarte is now on my radar. Which, I’m sure, they’re ecstatic about as the lack of my endorsement was the only thing holding back their success. If I start wearing the clothes ladies, who knows how high you can fly- call me!

Images from

1 comment:

tweedlibrarian said...

I LOVE the coat in the second photo - how stunning! How'd I miss Rodarte in my fashion reading? I like the applique, too, which is rare for me.

Good find - it's always good to know about new designers to add to my imaginary wardrobe.

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