FLASH FASHION: Clothes For Real People At Rodarte

Allow us to be blunt: Kate and Laura Mulleavy are great designers, but frequently we find their collections to be so good they’re intimidating and even look hard to wear. Their Rodarte collection for spring 2011 is proves they can do commercial clothes just as well as they can do what could pass for couture.

Granted, all the classic moves are still there — the lace overlays, the artful ruching, the thoughtful tailoring. But all of that was grounded by clothes we could see on very stylish women on the street — the high-waisted pants, for example, were heaven paired with a three-quarter sleeve jacket or a sweater. The leather jackets were luxe but, like the rest of the clothes in the collection, entirely wearable.

The New York TimesCathy Horyn attributes the collection’s wearability to a sense of emotion and connection to home the sisters wanted to communicate:

The clothes that Kate and Laura Mulleavy did this season for Rodarte were striking in their emotional grip of the things — almost all in nature — that the sisters see in their native California … I suspect that people will look at it again and again in a kind of amazement at so much transmitted feeling through honest things. At least I hope so.

WWD speculates that the sudden friendliness to a wider consumer audience might come from rumors that the house is to be acquired by LVMH:

One can’t help wonder if, with all the rumors swirling about a possible LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquisition, this was their merch-meets-Mulleavy audition. Pierre-Yves Roussel, it was a slam-dunk.

Whatever the reason for the shift, it’s a change one can’t help but marvel at, and welcome.


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