Last year, Kate and Laura Mulleavy returned to the New York Fashion Week schedule the only way they know how: with theatre, colour and a lot of flowers. This year, the designer sister duo uprooted their Fall 2019 collection to San Marino, a leafy suburb in Los Angeles County. Uprooted is apt; they quite literally took the seeds of last year’s floral whimsy – the fresh-flowered crowns and posy-printed silks – and sowed them in a new location far, far away from New York City. And despite the disparity in locale, the sartorial truisms of the Rodarte fantasy remained. And the beauty rose, rather remarkably, to the occasion.
With musical theatre – namely All That Jazz – as their muse, beauty hit a high note. Glitter and flowers had starring roles, as fantastical makeup and hair played out in the lush gardens of the Huntington Library. If the Rodarte shows of old are anything to go by, it would seem the sisters are avid green thumbs, with the flower forever playing an intrinsic role in both their fashionable creations and the hair to match. And again, it was a blooming affair in LA. Rubbery anthuriums in rich maroon, pickled yellow, bright cobalt and shell pink topped model hair – which was curled into tight coils then softly raked out by Odile Gilbert (much like the coifs of the 40s). The tropical flower anchored the hair look and seemingly had no bounds. They were huddled in tight and neat, or sat high and frivolous. The performed monologues, duologues and partook in group performance. And they role played with others – beaded hair pins, pearls, boaters, logo barrettes – even butterflies. It was laceleaf like we’ve never seen it before. Jazzed up and ready to perform. And that it did.
On face, glitter was the indubitable star. James Kaliardos played with dimension, pressing coloured glitter into lids and lips with heavy-handed glee. Model complexions were prepped with Nars Sheer Glow Foundation and a dusting of blush, leaving the glitter to do its job: shine. Speaking to Vogue US, his original intention was to layer Nars Audacious Lipstick in jewel tones. But in keeping with the Rodarte fantasy, he moved to layers of holographic pigment, instead. The result was standing ovation-worthy glitter, that captured the drama of its girls.
A case of pure beauty aspiration, Rodarte somehow make the make-believe feel real. Even if it just for a minute.