For at least a year now, Kate and Laura Mulleavy have been experimenting with ways to take their idiosyncratic vision in a more commercial direction. It hasn't been easy—these sisters are American fashion's dreamers, referencing Days of Heaven one season, and Disney's Sleeping Beauty the next. This time around, though, they got the art and commerce balance right.
The Australian Outback was their starting point, they said backstage. That meant it wasn't so far removed in spirit from last Fall's homage to Terrence Malick. But whereas back then the Mulleavys sent out somewhat challenging floor-scraping prairie coats, here they showed black and white shearlings you could believably see strutting city streets. In fact, we're sure we'll be coming across plenty of them this time next year.
Retailers were undoubtedly just as pleased to see a pair of black leather dresses with hand-tooled appliqué details that faintly recalled aboriginal motifs, as well as cropped alpaca fisherman sweaters worn with high-waisted wool pants; remember, Oz is an island. Tailored coats and jackets worked too, especially a dusty blue double-breasted style that looked like something out of Nicole Kidman's wardrobe in Baz Luhrmann's Australia.
Longtime fans of the duo's eccentric point of view needn't worry, though. The finale evening gowns with their cave-painting handprints were as unconventional as ever. Same goes for their new shoe collection. That was sand inside the Plexiglas heels.