RODARTE AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR NEW YORK FASHION WEEK
Birds. According to Laura and Kate Mulleavy, the starting point for their latest collection was birds. Migrating birds, to be specific. Birds migrating from city to country, to be more so. Oh, they can make you crazy, those Mulleavy girls, the way they evade acknowledgement of the most obvious influence on the clothes on their runway and talk about something like birds when of course this season was all about disco. Disco! There were multicolor sequin stripes; one-shoulder dresses; a crystal mesh material that read as a kind of magic lamé; and that Bob Mackie-style, heavy-duty figurative bead embroidery that’s done a long-term penance in the thrift shop bins. (Now it’s back, apparently.) There was even a Bee Gees song on the soundtrack. And the sisters Mulleavy aren’t at all casual about stuff like that.
Actually, it’s not quite fair to say that the Mulleavys didn’t acknowledge the disco debt: Laura owned up to it after a bit of prodding, saying that her and Kate’s interest in birds had guided them toward the disco theme. The connection was color: Avian plumage prompted a relook at that rainbow-hued, peacocking disco moment. And it’s also true that the bird reference wasn’t so far-flung, given the preponderance of feathers on the Rodarte runway today—feathers on the leather coats; feathers on the magical crystal mesh dresses; and feather-ish eyelash trim on the short, louche, nearly transparent chiffon frocks. You could even grant the migration narrative, as the daywear shifted from skintight black leather leggings topped with slick patent bombers to skintight white leather leggings topped by rather pastoral white lacy blouses. Or to brown skintight leggings with a tweedy, Vuitton-y trim blazer. Really, though, the key reference in this section seemed to be Spring 2015 Rodarte, inasmuch as the Mulleavys were pretty much just reinterpreting some of their most winning looks from that collection. That was all to the good—last season was a strong outing—though a few of the lace-leg looks here made you arch an eyebrow (or two). To be plain, the effect was a little trashy. Which was a line the Mulleavys walked with the rainbow-striped sequined dresses that opened the collection finale. But those dresses got away with a questionable tone—one that the sisters do like to play with—by going joyfully and wholeheartedly for hedonistic glam. To coin a disco phrase, courtesy of Mr. Leo Sayer: They made you feel like dancing.