Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meeting the sisters of Rodarte

Today I stopped by the Rodarte trunk show at Nordstrom to meet the Mulleavy sisters and see their fall 2010 collection and the verdict is in: Those two women are as cool and charming and down-to-earth as all other accounts have stated before me. To boot, the collection, which is inspired by a road trip they took from El Paso to Marfa, Texas, is stunning and truly evocative. After seeing the clothes in person, all I can say is that these photographs, simply put, stink. No offense to the photographer, but nothing compares to the opportunity of seeing, feeling and experiencing
fabric and design up close and in person, and these women take textiles to places you've only dreamed of. A thick, felted jacket tapers around the body; silky faux fur clings to weathered calfskin; and floral chiffons are magically patchworked or paired with a number of vintage-inspired, tactile and seemingly hand-crafted fabrics: impossibly soft lace, chunky knits and crochet, alpaca strands, quilted cottons, and wispy silk scarves. The construction is wowing; it was all I could do to not pick apart every little seam to see how one fabric seamlessly fit against another. It is couture-quality artistry, and I actually got a little breathless telling Kate how knocked over I was by their work. That is how great it is!

I separately chatted with Kate and Laura for about five to ten minutes each, and they were very forthcoming about the design process, upcoming collaborations (bloody ballerina costumes for a new thriller, Black Swan!), the industry of fashion, various inspirations, and, from Kate, what she thought of Seattle (she's never been here before today but it carries strong vibes from its 90s pop-culture reference points. And, no, she didn't wear a flannel shirt, jeans and a Cobain-esque cardie in homage to our grunge roots but, once dressed, she did wonder if anyone would think so).

I know these gals are incredibly popular and well-liked, but I had never followed their collections until they won the CFDA award last year and received endless buzz for their Target and Gap collaborations. I don't own any of their clothes, but after seeing this collection, that fact has got to change. As ever, their designs are far outside my price point, so I'll keep my eye on eBay over the coming months.

If you live in a smaller city like I do, go to every high-end trunk show you can, even if the designs are fiscally out of reach. It's a terrific opportunity to see full collections, meet the designers, drink champagne at noon and, if you're in a position to do so, preorder items that the store would never ordinarily carry. In other words, it's like having New York come to you.

All photos by Marcio Madeira/ and pulled from

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