NEW YORK -- The fashion force was with Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy on Tuesday when they presented the strongest collection of their career, capped off by five stunning finale gowns incorporating classic artwork from the “Star Wars” films.
The sweeping silk charmeuse looks, made with the blessing of Disney and the films’ creator George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson, avowed fans of the brand who have been spotted before at Rodarte shows, featured the most beloved characters of the epic story, Luke Skywalker, Yoda, C-3PO and R2-D2. Also translated onto silk, the Death Star and a beautiful landscape of the twin suns of Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine.
The gowns are not for sale, but will be available in the fall for editorial shoots and potential exhibits (which is good timing, as the next installment of the “Star Wars” film franchise is due in December.)
The collection was inspired by memories of the way the designers were dressed as children in the early ‘80s, in smocked dresses, boyish, high-waisted pants, crochet knits, colorful eyeglasses (made for the show by Oliver Peoples) and more.
“We couldn’t have done a collection like this and not included ‘Star Wars’, said Kate Mulleavy. “Those films represent for us a time when anything was possible.”
“And it’s so rare that you can use a film still as artwork and have it look like a painting. It’s so beautiful,” Laura Mulleavy said.
The Mulleavys approached Disney (which owns LucasFilm) about using images from the films, and it was suggested to them that they visit the archives. “But we already knew the images we wanted,” Laura said, “and we were afraid we’d go into the archives and never come out.”
As for whether or not the designers, who are based in L.A., would collaborate with Disney on a “Star Wars” project again -- say perhaps costumes for a film -- they said, “Who wouldn’t’? I’m sure they are taken care of, but who wouldn’t do it?”
Here’s a rundown on the collection:
The look: Sweetly nostalgic, quirky and layered. Hard and soft (kind of like childhood) but ultimately grown-up. The most commercial collection they’ve ever done.
Key pieces: Variegated knit turtleneck worn with off-the-shoulder jersey top, pale pink silk chiffon pleated pants and mustard sequin shawl. Ochre-colored chiffon butterfly sleeve dress with hand smocking. Long taupe wool vest worn with off-the-shoulder gray top and silk chiffon pleated pants. Crochet sleeveless sweater over turtleneck and red paper bag waist drawstring pants. Plaid wool jacket with shearling collar. Cosmic-looking teal glitter coat with shearling collar. Metallic lace and sequin striped gowns. Starry glitter and black silk velvet draped gown.
The verdict: Utterly gorgeous. Fashion through a child’s eyes in the best way. And a poignant expression of the designers’ fascination with storytelling and cinema. But also a collection full of great-looking pieces, including the cool pleated chiffon pants, sleeveless jackets worn with off-the-shoulder tops, glittery coats with shearling collars and to die black dresses.