2010 September 15

Runway Reviews: Rodarte, Narciso Rodriguez, Vera Wang

Vera Wang Spring 2011 Vera Wang Spring 2011
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“This was just about Northern California for us and just all the layers of that,” said Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte’s Spring effort. “It came together very organically for us, starting with wood prints and culminating in golds.” This season’s collection was in fact far cleaner, leaner, and softer than in the previous few years while still reaching the Midas climax with a series of gorgeous, asymmetrical dresses proudly worn by such supers like Karolina Kurkova and Anja Rubik. There’s was a definite sense of quiet authority in Rodarte’s spring showing that was demonstrated by their signature Gagosian set (curated by Alex de Betak), supportive front row (that included everyone from Kanye West to Elijah Wood), and their calming Americana soundtrack. The sisters created almost every fabric for the collection and the front row was showered with plenty of Mulleavy mojo: China blue flowing dresses, wood parquet inspired separates, and magnificent shoes.

Narciso Rodriguez may be known for his super-clean, modern aesthetic, but it was all about nostalgia for Spring 2011, hearkening back to simpler times and classic women—most notably, the ‘90s and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s now-iconic wedding dress. “There's so much noise in the world — not just in the world of fashion, but in the world. You want to create things that just clear the slate for a moment,” said Rodriguez post-show. Translation? Slip dresses (not entirely unlike the aforementioned Kennedy bridal dress) in either entirely clean, lingerie-inspired versions or with minimal embellishment, like a tonal jacquard or with panels of sheer fabric and opaque “petals.” Collarless jackets, straight pants, and pencil skirts came in slate-gray waxed linen, but the dresses—nearly all mid-calf length with the same slim silhouette—were the real standouts. Nearly all of them were covered in a layer of sheer chiffon overlay, which muted glimmering embroidery or a bright red shade to subtler finishes. It was a quiet collection for Rodriguez, but it spoke volumes.

To get inspiration for her collection, Vera Wang watched over 8 hours of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill to achieve that East meets West look of a strong yet feminine exotic warrior. The austere collection had a Japanese influence with highly sculptural accents such as a dresses and jackets with origami or double obi folds, high waisted pants tied with sumo rope belts, futuristic quilted harnesses, kimono blouses, cherry blossom print taffeta dresses, and chrysanthemum sequined sheaths. To achieve the structured looks Wang used fabrics with body such as silk wool, taffeta, and horsehair inlays for peplum tops. Chunky crystal color necklaces looked stunning against the predominantly dark palette.