When it comes to the craziness of the New York Fashion Week calendar and the sheer volume of shows to hit up, Rodarte is a serious highlight for us, season after season. We mean, we’ve met our fair share of Rodarte collectors and obsessives, from Karla Welch (filmy dresses) to Kate Young (patchwork minidresses seemingly made out of wood) to Jenne Lombardo (a tie-dye biker jacket trimmed in wool and snakeskin)—because being a Rodarte connoisseur is kind of the fashion equivalent of collecting contemporary art, it’s that, well, special. And, occasionally, that expensive. And their show? It’s kind of like the opening night of a major exhibition—if we’re sticking to the art metaphor here—where you make a little dream list of the pieces that will someday embellish your wardrobe (if you ever come across a super sale, that is).
It was with this kind of reverent anticipation that we arrived backstage at their spring 2015 show (which, we’re not too modest to add, was a special invitation from the Cov-alum Mulleavy sisters themselves). But when your past seasons read like what might just be the most eclectic list of cultural references ever—that also happen to feel oh-so-right-now—from their most recent Star Wars fiesta to Valley Girls and Vincent van Gogh, guessing at what the sisters might do next is kind of a losing game. In other words, we were expecting something completely different. And guys, that’s what we got.
Forget the extremity that once was bleached brows: Rodarte gave us pierced brows. And we’re not talking a single, lone stud either; but rather models with eyebrows fully decked in rows of silver rings (don’t worry, they were only glued on... as far as we could tell, at least). It was with this in mind that NARS’ James Kaliardos otherwise left model's faces fresh and free of serious statement makeup, instead employing tried and true classics like the brand's Orgasm Multiple eyeshadow and Larger Than Life mascara.
What emerged once the models were dressed, however, was yet another genius reference. As we shot frame after frame before they launched onto the eerily fluorescent-lit runway, the netted layers, uneven hemlines and romantic flowiness paired with hardcore lace-up sandals and edgy Oliver Peoples sunnies called to mind punked-out mermaids––or a more literal take on seapunk. Our guess? Sofia Coppola’s upcoming Little Mermaid redux might have had something to do with the somewhat creepy image their runway conjured—they do share muses in the Fanning sisters (who sat across from us, front row) after all. And yet another clutch of dresses to add to our collectables list.