The Internet generation loves a mash-up, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy gave them a doozy for Spring. With Tavi Gevinson, Dakota and Elle Fanning, Saoirse Ronan, Rooney Mara, and Taylor Swift looking on from the front row, the sisters sent out a collection that was one part Sleeping Beauty and another part Vincent van Gogh. They explained that they fell for the greens and purples of the 1959 animated Disney classic, and asked themselves who else uses colors like that. They found their answer in the Dutch postimpressionist painter beloved by millions. It's not their usual esoteric reference point, and it was all the more unexpected for the fact that gift stores do such a bang-up business in Starry Night mouse pads.
Of course, the Mulleavys have flirted with kitsch before—the quinceañera-inspired light-up birthday-candle heels of a couple of years ago come to mind. Here the effect was often hypnotic; it's undeniable that van Gogh's colors are powerful, and not just his purples and greens, but also the blues and yellows of his sunflowers, some of which looked digitized or pixelated in the designers' hands. But there was a frustrating aspect, too. The fifties prom dress silhouettes—nipped at the waist, with all the action at the shoulders and the flaring hems—seem pitched so resolutely in the past. And while you can picture Tavi showing one off on her blog or Elle Fanning wearing another on the red carpet, it's harder to imagine the grown-up woman willing to lay down four figures for one. It's a good thing for the over-21 set that there were color-blocked cable-knit sweaters and pretty jacquard pants.