"Medieval and fantasy role-playing games"—that was Kate and Laura Mulleavy's backstage précis after a Rodarte show that had editors buzzing about a return to eccentric form. Did they actually play Dungeons & Dragons when they were young? "No, but we knew lots of people who did." They must have. A gunmetal guipure lace top and skirt dripped with chains like some sort of couture armor; red leather flames—or were they wings?—were emblazoned on the chest of a party dress. And there was pageantry aplenty in evening numbers like a marine blue silk gown with marquetry embroidery cinching its middle, and another in dusty blue and orange with a draped metal chain belt.
This editor saw Game of Thrones influences in the collection. The HBO show is right up the sisters' street, but Laura begged innocence, claiming she's never seen it. We believe her: The Mulleavys have vision to spare. Tavi Gevinson was there in the front row to remind us that tapping into teenage dreams has been part of the duo's approach since forever. Maybe that's why the leather fringing on what are sure to be the most photographed and coveted pieces in the collection, the boss leather vests, put us in mind of nothing so much as cheerleader pompoms. And as for the provocative laced and grommeted leather leggings, those conjured bad girls sneaking cigarettes in the parking lot between classes.
Pure fashion fantasy? Not exactly. You needn't be a gamer, current or former, to appreciate silk blouses with graphic blocks of color or a T-shirt gown with an ivy print. All sorts of girls will be eager to role-play their way into this collection.