Nostalgia for their childhood, that was the inspiration behind Kate and Laura Mulleavy‘s wonderful Rodarte collection, shown on Tuesday. We could see that immediately. From the first outfit — a slightly off-looking combo of faded pink pants and peplum top, paired with a sunset-colored turtleneck and topped off with a glittery mustard shawl and beret — the mood was decidedly retro. Images of young girls — either pre-teens playing dress up or actual adolescents outfitting themselves to impress the boys — danced in our heads, and we imagined them dreaming away in their carpeted bedrooms circa the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Stylistically, it wasn’t the prettiest time, but explored and romanticized though the designers’ eyes, it appeared fetching. And whether you were around to remember those years personally, you just knew this smart and geeky girl, the one who also had an edge of show-off cool. Such is the power of the Mulleavy sisters, who have a knack for sucking you into their fantastical world, however specific their obsessions.
Things quickly progressed into a series of floaty dresses, done up in shades like rust, baby blue and lavender, which featured disco-ready crystal detailing and girlish ruffles. They were styled with glittery nude socks and sparkly heels, conjuring prom nights of yore. The vintage cues didn’t stop there, as crocheted tops and more of those ugly-chic turtlenecks came down the runway, painted in the favored color palette from that time — reds, rusts, browns, grays and forest greens. Everything kind of looked like it could’ve been secretly snatched from a suburban mom’s closet circa the Jimmy Carter era, but made youthful by the butterfly jewelry, which read like treasures scored at the local mall.
There were more gowns, which showed off the sisters’ couture-like handicraft with their many mismatched fabric inserts so deftly pieced together (we could see a label fan like Dakota Fanning, who was in the audience, taking a risk and wearing one on the red carpet). But the real stars of the show — no, not the beyond-awesome glitter anoraks in hot pink or turquoise with shearling collars, though those will surely be the most coveted pieces in the lineup — were the dresses printed with “Star Wars” motifs. Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, the twin suns of Tatooine and the Death Star all took their bow in the finale. And while we’d debate the wearability here, these were the real icons of that time, and we’re glad that the Mulleavys, who are self-professed sci-fi fans, gave them their fashion moment.