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We seem to have found ourselves at a stand off with fashion at the moment. Fashion shows are increasingly becoming a thing of the past, its safe to call it boredom… or was that several seasons ago? They are expensive, chaotic and quite a mental drain especially for the designers who often get lost in the narrative supposedly about them. It is the reason I absolutely am enamoured by the Rodarte Fall ’18 collection look book. A dazzling display of twenty-seven stunning looks on their friends and women whom the designers find inspiring, spanning all ages and several races, its a beguiling storybook that channels their inner quirk and funky spirit. It reminds me of playing dress up as a kid, in really fancy clothes of my mothers, a myriad of colours and fabric.
The look book is shot by Autumn de Wilde against an enchanting backdrop propped by flowers and greenery. It is emblematic of that Rodarte signature of a dark and twisted kind of romance, a fairy tale from an other world, and beautiful. The beauty is not atypical which only make its more enthralling. Chloe and Halle Bailey, Tessa Thompson, Grimes, Ava Phippe, Kirsten Dunst, Gia Coppola… there are pretty parasols, leopard prints, tulles, ruffles, checks, bows… everything is chucked at this but nothing is over powering or confusing. But nothing is simple either, its sophisticated and flawless, my heart wants to sing.
This feels different, it looks different but it is intrinsic to the Rodarte signature, the designers have always paced themselves to the rhythm of their drum, off the well beaten and predictable path of fashion, onto their twisted playground of clothes that deserves a second look sometimes not out of wonder, but a- what the fuck? type way. Still they have remained true to their calling card. This is no different, this is not trend led or forced, and the narrative is not lost in a melee of the flash bulbs and absolute madness of the front row and celebrity at fashion week. The designers referred back to their archives for this collection. I still consider Rodarte to be somewhat new designers so digging through the archives for inspiration could go either way, but this is Rodarte, a brand that often plays on the periphery of fashion and produces collections that takes us a few good years to catch up, and we do eventually, but by then they have moved onto the their next quirk. And that is the power of fashion, to lead the way where we follow. Hence the archive turned out to be a good idea for this young-ish brand because they already had more than the bones, they had the goods, all parts of it.
This collection is a testament to a talent and tribe all their own. It shows their range and flashes their chops; without the fanfare of a show they create an astounding impact that can be transmitted through imagery alone. There is a sense that nothing has changed, no confusion, no fuss, but then in this uniqueness they upend everything we think we know about them, and reacquaint us once again. Its freeing, something so simple but eludes most fashion designers, freedom of being tethered to a regiment, a calendar, expectations of others and living up to the pressure that brings. Freedom and fashion- that is what truly makes fashion what it is; an effervescence, an interpretation of a mind’s particular eye. And when it works like it does here, it is beautiful to watch it all unfold.