Florals in Spring may not be groundbreaking, but the new Rodarte Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection poses an important question for its audience: What about florals in Fall? Kate and Laura Mulleavy unveiled their latest collection on April 20th, surprising the industry in terms of both their designs and their star-studded model roster.
What might have become a ballet-cliché in the hands of another brand is an ethereal display of femininity under Rodarte. Laura discusses the inspiration behind the collection in an interview with Vogue, saying, “We wanted to play with [ballerina] silhouettes and a soft pastel color palette.” While beautiful gowns in pastel shades, lace detailing, and breezy silhouettes are what we expect of the brand, this collection embodies Rodarte’s DNA, but with a twist.
These looks subvert our typical idea of a Fall collection, relying on pink, tulle, and whimsical accessories to do so. The usual dark color palette of the Fall/Winter runway has disappeared. In its place is a swath of pink, balanced out by black, grey, and the unexpected pop of red and teal throughout.
Viewers are invited to step with the models through the white wrought iron gate of the set, and into the collection. Flanked by gorgeous blossoms and snow-flaked shrubbery, a magical, dusty sunset serves as the backdrop of the looks. This creates a fantasy much like the one you are transported to when adorning the clothes themselves.
Inside this wonderland, you will find pink tulle tiered to create dynamic silhouettes, shredded loose knits, and lace paneling. References are layered as expertly as the fabrics- not only does the brand’s famous 2008 butterfly knit reappear, but the viewer is consistently reminded of Rodarte’s costume design for Black Swan, the ballet-focused film from which many silhouettes in the collection are inspired.
Realistic elements balance the fantasy realm that is created. Leg warmers over jeans, slicked-back hair in a bun, and the occasional tailored piece ground the drapery, ruffles, and silk of the looks. Frivolous touches continually call the viewer to recognize the intentionality behind this world. Ballet slippers-turned-heels in shades of red, metallic kitsch hair bows, and puffed sleeves reminiscent of a 1980s prom dress perfectly complement the drama of the rest of the collection’s transition from pale pink to black lace.
Even more fantastical than the clothes themselves are the models wearing them. The likes of Charli XCX, Taylour Paige, Lili Reinhart, Mandy Moore, Camila Mendes, Janicza Bravo, Natasha Lyonne, Iris Apatow, and Lana Condor grace the pages of the lookbook, heightening the dreamy quality of the shoot.
Kate comments on the use of celebrities from other industries as models, saying, “We look for people that inspire us and that we can artistically create with. We approach it in terms of storytelling—looking for people that will bring the world that we’re imagining to life.” To the Mulleavy’s, the story behind each model is as important as the story of the clothes, and when both combine, the true vision of the collection is brought to life.