New York Fashion Week fall 2013: Rodarte review

NEW YORK -- The tie-dye gowns were to die for, and could only have come from one place -- California.

Los Angeles-based designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy showed their fall-winter 2013 Rodarte collection Tuesday afternoon in a Chelsea studio space, with Dan Flavin-like fluorescent tubes creating a colorful light show for models to walk through.

The inspiration: Santa Cruz, where the designers grew up.

The look: A magical melding of counterculture style, hippies, Dead Heads, Goths, Hells Angel bikers, yogis, beach bums and all. This collection was out there all right, from silk charmeuse and sheer tulle jumpsuits with angel wing embroideries on the backs, to fringy, DIY-style, crystal-embroidered macrame sweater and knit skirt combos. Drapey black trench coats, elongated blazers and cropped woven pants were shown with thong bodysuits exposing triangles of skin over the waistbands, like something a rebellious teenager would try to get away with when her parents weren’t looking. A draped, acid-washed print silk slip dress over a black bodysuit had a certain counterculture charm, as did the ankle socks with tattoo rose art by Scott Campbell. And in a season when leather jackets are everywhere, Rodarte’s oversized white leather biker style, worn over a wispy chiffon top and dancer’s skirt, was cool and covetable. But the body-skimming tie dye satin gowns in reds, blues and pinks were undoubtedly the stars of this show, some with crystal rose embroideries.


The verdict: Not all of it worked. Then again, we’ve seen a lot of sameness on the runways this week. (Fur! Menswear fabrics!). At least these fashion free spirits had the creative juices flowing, even if they did have a few too many ideas, some of them still in progress.


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