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Rodarte’s California Condor Couture

Godfrey Deeny
September 15th, 2009 @ 3:47 PM - New York

Six days into the New York fashion season and we finally got to see probably the biggest single reason European editors have for coming across the pond – the latest collection from Rodarte.

In their latest flight of fancy the Rodarte duo of sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy sent out 35 urban warrior princesses, patchworks Amazons whose ragged finish and spaghetti like entanglement of materials was shockingly new.

“Californian condors. Beautiful giant birds that were hunted to near extinction. There were only just six of them left at one stage,” explained Kate Mulleavy, when asked about the show’s inspiration. From silver claw buckles on hand braided leather belts to tentacles twisting off mega high heels, the vulture muse flew high in this show.

Skirts created in cobwebs of wool, lizard or sandpapered silk; bodices in intricate weaves of burnt and braided lace or macramé cheesecloth and velvet; undershirts braided in combos of sequined lace and Swarovski crystals all testified to the sisters’ mesmerizing technical skills. A series of openers with large doses of tartan and plaid, all suggested Highland weddings for Rob Roy’s nieces. And, though this was a show staged in a Manhattan ready-to-wear season, the collection had all the technical virtuosity of French haute couture.

Adding to the horror movie atmosphere, producer Alex de Betak flew in Roger Corman quantities of dry ice, so much so you could not see the feet of the first half dozen models.

Before an audience that included Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, Kirsten Dunst and Elijah Wood, the models marched out on a twisting catwalk covered with metal filings, the same material that covered the show invitation

And the sisters love of watching horror movies was apparent in the final 15 looks, all in black like the girls were marching into an after party of The Pit and the Pendulum.

Several executives and consultants from LVMH sat front row, igniting speculation that the giant French luxury conglomerate may be about to buy a stake in Rodarte.

“Hmmmm…. not so far. But that would be nice!” responded Kate Mulleavy when asked about a possible partnership.

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