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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

#SuzyNYFW: Rodarte’s blood flow of imagination

Lace, leather, and lilies in the hair bring an eerie beauty to the Mulleavy sisters’ show

17 Февраля 2016

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Fresh blood red — but of course! — with nude pink, virgin white or black lace against bared skin… What other palette of colours could there be from Rodarte, the design duo addicted to stealing beauty from horror movies and Gothic gore?

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Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


But this was a gentle and graceful version of Laura and Kate Mulleavy’s style, even if the inspiration for the show came from finding the Italian café in North Beach, San Francisco, where Francis Ford Coppola wrote The Godfather.

The Mulleavy sisters are making a movie of their own, following their costume designs for Darren Aranofosky’s Black Swan in 2010. Woodshock has Kirsten Dunst as its star, and she was sitting front and central to watch red fluorescent tubes on the runway light up like fires among the Proustian display of calla lilies, anemones and ranunculus. Those compelling flowers were also woven in the models’ hair, while oncidium and phalaenopsis orchids were turned into jewellery. 

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Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


Strains of The Last Waltz Suite by The Band filled the room to accompany the rough-and-sweet clothes that included hefty leather and shearling jackets, but only as an accompaniment to fragile lace. Shades of lavender beading and creamy silken knitwear created an eerie femininity to complement the look. Laura talked about a trilogy of colours — black, white and red — as being symbolic, while Kate focused on the floral hair effects, especially orchids, that she said had mesmerised her vision. I cannot decide whether the Rodarte shows are more or less disturbing now that the design duo has delicately sewn together what used to be left in raw strands.

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Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Kirsten Dunst at Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Kirsten Dunst at Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


I still felt a sense of menace from furry coats with fiery coloured fringes eating into mud brown and dusky pink with the look of angry birds, while tulle ruffle details looked like shreds from Miss Havisham’s dusty abandoned wedding gown from Dickens’ Great Expectations.

With Rodarte, there is always a sense of a backstory, as though these pretty dresses were the beginning or the end of something — probably bad — that was buried under foot where ruffled lizard skin rose from shoes to entwine the legs. 

These dresses will look as good on the red carpet as they did in the glow of red fluorescents, but I hope they won’t lose the quirky Rodarte spirit.

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Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Rodarte, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


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