Rodarte Comes To Paris

Couture, of late, has become the time and place to show your collection – if you're not a couture designer. Following in the footsteps of Vetements who did it previously, California sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy, like Proenza Schouler this morning, brought their Rodarte label to Paris. If there was any question over whether the city's recent renegade shakeup was on the wane, let this be proof that actually it's not – there are just more avenues to explore. The Americans in Paris chapter.


Rodarte - Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

For Rodarte, it's a move that can happily make sense – the sisters are known for their extravagant creations, so much so that sometimes this can in fact become their criticism. Where can one actually wear such a thing? Because they borderline pixie-fairy-magicness with a little bit of princess tossed in. Yet there's an inherent coolness to be found, too. A Rodarte dress – because that's usually what they are – is always very Rodarte. This collection, a debut sojourn in Paris, was no different. If anything, it felt a little more tame and grown-up – befitting of the audience who has turned out to see the highest end of fashion going. When you come to Paris, you can't just make it up as you go along – that's already been done. One has to do something new – and perhaps playing by the book is, in fact, the way to do this.

Each look – all frou and floss and flounce for flamenco ruffles and skirts and dresses and pearl-studded leather, along with flower-strewn bouquets – looked jolie enough as to show during couture week. In a pastel palette, it was a breath of spring fresh air with little blooms accessorised to match and polka dot patterns among rippling bodices and sparkling dresses that came with a sophisticated cowgirl boot around the foot. It was their blend of witchy with something sincerely pretty and elegant – almost, at times though, as if they were playing it too safe: there were no geek or surfer girl hybrids to be found here. Instead it was dresses, lots of dresses, that wafted as they walked as much as they did in variation.


Rodarte - Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

The punchline came with the finale – out in a courtyard full of flowers to leave you thinking you were in an English country garden, not Paris. It was beautiful no doubt, and targeted more than it likely has in the past – Paris is, after all, always about a business strategy. But in a week where pretty is default by nature, was it pretty enough?

The move comes as part of a shift in strategy for the brand as they leave the New York Fashion Week schedule. Paris as a result is moving back into the spotlight – but as a separate side note: the question is, though, how much room there will be for those hopping across the pond to share it.


Rodarte - Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION