September 13, 2010 New York
If that sounds like a recipe for a signature Rodarte mash-up, this wasn't a predictable collection. The Mulleavys have moved on from the artful dishevelment and studied quirkiness of their last few seasons to embrace a seductive new precision. Having shed their nomad layers for the most part, their models wore such uncomplicated yet accomplished looks as an hourglass dress with cutaway shoulders; a cropped jacket and matching wrap skirt in stamped leather; a wood-grain-print blouse sliced high on the torso to reveal a provocative flash of skin above pleated trousers; or, even more simply, a black lace blouse tucked into a tiered mint skirt.
The Mulleavy sisters are still dreamers, though—a gladiator dress whipstitched together from squares of burnished gold leather was easy proof of that. And their references are still all over the map; what did the gorgeous blue and white Ming vase evening dresses have to do with redwoods? And they haven't abandoned eccentricity entirely: The platform wedges were carved from wood, metal, and pyrite cubes into butterflies and flowers. But they seem to have done a fair bit of growing up over the course of a season. This beautiful and provocative collection will do nothing to quell rumors of LVMH's courtship of the Mulleavys.