Will they or won’t they? It’s the question everyone always seems to ask about whether or not Rodarte will be showing at New York Fashion Week. After recently returning from a long hiatus this past February with a show that took place in the Williamsburg Savings Bank in Brooklyn, the brand was notably absent on this September’s lineup.
This season, the Mulleavy sisters showcased their collection by releasing a lookbook on the first day of NYFW, but saved a select handful of portraits taken in New York to drop today on the @NYFW Instagram.
“We wanted to do something celebrating New York Fashion Week, taking the idea of doing a portrait shoot and extending that to the city and doing it in a more public event manner,” Laura Mulleavy told me over the phone yesterday from Los Angeles. “We wanted it to be a live experience. The day of [the shoot], we rolled out a little bit of information that it was happening, and people definitely stood by and watched.”
The designers explained that their decision to forgo a show felt right for this collection. “When we're working on a collection, sometimes it reveals itself to us,” says Laura. “We thought this would be a really great collection to do a series of portraits that feel very timeless and very reflective of the brand's identity.”
The portraits also reflected the weather of the week, which shifted from extreme heat to torrential downpour. “We had five looks that we felt were expressive of the weather patterns for New York Fashion Week.The looks went from sunny, like a really vibrant yellow sequin and tulle look, to something a little bit more statuesque, like a white satin dress, which was a shot in front of the Met. And then we went into a black satin dressing and tulle cape outside Central Park, where you could start seeing the sky was turning. It kind of worked out perfectly.”
Modeling in the portrait series are actresses Lana Condor, Kieran Shipka, and Rowan Blanchard, who the designers have worked with before, and Lucy Hale, someone they have always wanted to collaborate with. The Rodarte girl is a key part of the world Laura and Kate have built, with actresses and creatives constantly featured in the brand’s photography or campaigns. As for how they decide who exactly is a Rodarte girl, it’s all about finding others who are “like-minded artistically,” said Laura.
Kate chimed in on our call to add, “As designers, and also as filmmakers, we have such admiration for the different talent. think there's obviously a special connection we have to actors in the film world, and it makes the experience even more full circle.”
Kate says the person who wears their clothing, and who stars in their campaigns has to have, “an intellectual romantic side,” which mirrors how she describes their clothing.“Even if it’s romantic, it’s not overtly feminine. In a way it’s also subversive.”
And for the Spring 2024 collection, Laura said they were inspired by “blooming flowers,” a recurring theme for thea Rodarte girl. “We just wanted to feel like the wearer is that flower blossoming. We created looks that have that feeling of a flower on the stem in a weird way. ”
Laura and Kate constantly use the word “storytelling” to describe what they do, and it’s why their highly anticipated collections transports you to another place. You could wear Rodarte to go to the office, but it’ll tint your 9-to-5 with a rose-colored filter and a soundtrack of Air songs, like you're the tormented teen starring in a Sofia Coppola film, drowning in tulles and bows.
And while you'd be justified to sulk about there not being a show this season, they still gave us a story.
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