The Force is strong with this one: Rodarte

Rodarte
Geek chic triumphed at Rodarte.
Credit: Rodarte

Tuesday

12:17 My first Anna Wintour sighting of the week! The Vogue editrix, in her trademark sunglasses, bob and impenetrable countenance, sits next to her flame-haired art director Grace Coddington and actress Dakota Fanning, who looks like a punk princess in a pink dress, delicately frayed cardigan and mismatched shoes.

12:25 This is shaping up to be a particularly romantic Rodarte collection: the magpie layering; the silk chiffon smocked dresses dusted with Swarovski crystals; the kitschy-yet-luxurious glitter-bomber coats in fuchsia and burnt orange. Crochet tops evoke that homespun quality that defines so much of the Mulleavy sisters’ aesthetic — which helps fuel the narrative of the duo of quirky Californians who create completely outside the fashion system.

But then, after a series of kitchen-sink eveningwear — which combine striped turtlenecks with velour, metallic lace, sequins and embroidered tulle all in one dress — glides a striking black silk velvet and charmeuse gown with… is that the Death Star printed on its skirt? Then comes a butter-yellow chiffon confection printed with… Luke Skywalker. I’m smiling and laughing as a parade of crystal-studded “Star Wars” gowns appear on the runway: the twin suns of Tatooine, C-3P0 and R2-D2, Yoda. Sonic Youth blares on the soundtrack. Everyone is smiling, bemused. This is awesome, but… what does it all mean?!

The entire collection not only celebrated a certain nerd chic — starting with the oversized plastic cat eye glasses worn by the models — it was also deeply nostalgic, filled with off-kilter takes on the very clothes the Mulleavys would have worn growing up in the late 1970s and ‘80s: from the hand-smocked dresses that recall so many of my own childhood memories to the muddy plaid coats, striped knits and high-waisted trousers that have a sort of twisted “Wonder Years” quality to them. The amazing thing about this collection, however, is that it doesn’t feel retro. Actually, it doesn’t feel all that contemporary either. But it feels utterly Rodarte, a hermetic, eccentric label that at its best seems to exist outside of — even transcend — space and time. Kind of like the “Star Wars” movies themselves.

The major trends
1970s, glitter, crochet, turtlenecks, magpie layering

The soundtrack
Sonic Youth’s darkly dreamy cover of The Carpenters’ “Superstar.”

What this means for your wardrobe:
Don’t be afraid to mix glitter and chiffon with your “Star Wars” T-shirt from middle school. And you can ditch the contacts.


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