Rodarte Womenswear A/W12

Cerebral storytelling and abstracting landscapes by the Mulleavy sisters

Fashion Show
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Anticipation before the Rodarte show often relates to storytelling – what narrative theme will be spun through the masterful and imaginative fingers of the Mulleavy sisters? Being designers with such singular vision, however, means the story is never so literal that it could be interpreted without some creative rumination and free association. This collection started out seeming like it could be a Dynasty vibe, with the neon light show that preceded the catwalk and the vintage frock shapes that began filing out.

We were inspired by Australia for the show, but the story is of an abstract landscape. We looked at landscape photography from different eras, but people capturing things like Australia is not easy research – so it became mostly beautiful pictorial representations

Then it seemed like a county fair vibe, a rural Americana glamour with floral prints and star barrettes pulling the vintage cuts out of the 80s and into the frontier prairie. Then the prints began coming out and threw down all the wild cards; rust brown and black primal abstract circles, geometric leather cutouts and a layered, spray painted hand print that seemed impossible to place. "We were inspired by Australia for the show, but the story is of an abstract landscape," said Kate and Laura Mulleavy, backstage after the show. "We looked at landscape photography from different eras, but people capturing things like Australia is not easy research – so it became mostly beautiful pictorial representations".

We'd start seeing things like a lone Victorian home in the middle of nowhere, and that actually was a really important image for us. You see that and you start thinking about all the layers within a place's history and the human imprints. Like the idea of going back to the earliest cave paintings they had at the end of the show, it was the end of our show but it was The Beginning. We really wanted to capture the things that make a place what it is and also what makes it abstract."

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