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New York Fashion Week: Wonderful wizardry at Rodarte

February 15, 2011 |  4:28 pm


Kate and Laura Mulleavy are the rare designers showing in New York who really have the power to transport a jaded audience to a magical place.

This season, they took us to the Great Plains, with romantic prairie looks on fresh-faced models with windswept hair.

The back-to-nature nostalgia that drove their Rodarte spring collection had evolved into an equally charming back-to-the-land naivete.

The concept started with the impulse to make prairie coats, Laura Mulleavy said after the show. The Pasadena sisters were also interested in creating silk prints depicting wheat fields at different times of day (sunrise, sunset etc.).

The show began with a long, maize-color boucle wool coat with triangle cutouts on either side, as pretty from the back as the front, thanks to neat rows of stitching at the small of the back.


The throughline to the prairie girl story was a sensual draped, crinkled silk gown that came in five different versions, with amber waves of grain pictured at dawn, midday, dusk, under stormy skies and Technicolor skies.


Romantic blouses were key pieces. One style was pieced together from several different varieties of cream floral lace, and paired with a lace circle skirt.

Sleeveless tops in cream and light yellow had folded collars and triangle cutouts, and the matching high-waist pants came with slant flap pockets.

Staying true to their craftsy aesthetic, the Mulleavys showed sweaters knit in Amish quilt motifs, and collagey tulle and sequin skirts as light as corn silk.


The two sparkly firecracker red looks toward the end were a take on the famous ruby red slippers from the "Wizard of Oz," they explained.

Then, just like that, the show was over and it all seemed like a beautiful daydream.

-- Booth Moore in New York

Photos: Looks from the Rodarte fall-winter 2011 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times.