Since the launch of their label Rodarte in 2005, sibling design team Kate and Laura Mulleavy have pursued a singular, intensely personal vision, becoming two of the most original designers working today. The Californian duo have already garnered nominations for the CFDA Vogue Fund and the Swarowski Womenswear prize, as well as enthusiastic support from fans like Dita Von Teese and Kim Gordon.
Their creations beautifully tread the line between art and fashion, distinguished by meticulous detail and exquisite craftsmanship. Fittingly, the designers were asked to display their one-of-a-kind dresses in the windows of Colette during the recent Paris Couture week.
“Eerie and bewitching” was how Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan described their darkly romantic A/W 08 collection. Inspired by Japanese horror films, the airy dreaminess that is the Rodarte signature took on a nightmarish quality, as models stalked the runway “like technicolour zombie ballerinas” in slashes of blood red fabric, cobweb lace tights and spiked heels. In perfectly capturing the gothic mood of the season, Rodarte have made the leap from cult designers to shining stars of the fashion scene.
In an exclusive feature for Dazed Digital, Kate and Laura have handpicked some of their favourite pieces from their archive, illustrated by these previously unpublished photos featuring the model Irina Lazareanu.
“These images seemed exciting and special to us because we realized that Irina has been in every single one of our runway shows. On top of that, when we were going through our best friend Autumn de Wilde’s photographs, we realized that Irina has worn many of our favourite looks.”
"In the last set of images, Irina wore our black hand-painted suit in our Spring 2008 show. We truly started to understand how much we loved color in this collection. Irina's suit was made from delicate strokes of concentrated color. We wanted to create a watercolored landscape, like in anime films."
"The second set of images are from Fall 2007. Irina wears the black laminated wool coat with Swarovski-encrusted sleeves, and also wears the brown organza waved dress. Both looks in which Irina wears in these photos represent when we were interested in silhouette, and building interiors that defied gravity. Every interior that we built in this collection was light as air, and it was interesting to create shape while being obsessed with negative space. "
"The first images
are from Fall 2006. Irina wears the orchid organza dress with molded
flowers. This dress was an interesting experiment for us, it was when
we first played with a single, simple textile and manipulated it into a
three dimensional form. It turned into a map of sorts; a beautiful
Photographs and portrait: Autumn De Wilde
Model: Irina Lazareanu
Colette windows courtesy of Sarah at Colette
Special thanks to Juliana at Black Frame
For more on Rodarte, see Katie Shillingford’s interview in issue #164 of Dazed & Confused.