Poor Abbey Leethe Aussie model who took a catwalk tumblewasn't the only one earthbound at the Rodarte show today: Kate and Laura Mulleavy turned their obsessive interest in landscape art into the starting point for their futuristic, apocalyptic Spring collection.
Many creative influences could be read into the clothes, but the most instructive clue to decoding them came from Laura Mulleavy, who commented that land art blossomed only after humans began space travel and "people began to see the Earth from a different perspective." The Mulleavy sisters sometimes seem to view fashion from just such a radical vantage point: Certainly no other designers on the New York schedule have such an idiosyncratic takeand that is both what makes them so interesting and their Achilles' heel.
The gorgeous dyed Grecian gowns of Fall returned for Spring, embellished with crystals and in an Olafur Eliasson-inspired palette of violet, orange, white, and blue. Also familiar were the knits, but this time composed of a mélange of materials, including leather and chains, so decayed-looking as to almost defy the label "sweaters." These were worn with the most salable pieces the sisters have ever shown: circular lace-pleated skirts in a shape familiar to any Catholic school student.
Drama and intellectual content, along with an otherworldly loveliness, may always be the Rodarte thing, but more down-to-earth-wearable pieces would be welcome. "Beautiful androids" (as the models were referred to backstage) make for great editorial, but flesh-and-blood women like Natalie Portman, Sarah Sophie Flicker, and Dr. Lisa Airan, who all sat in the front row, need to be able to imagine themselves wearing the clothes out into the big, beautiful world.