rodarte resort 2012
(images via grazia)
as i said some time back when we were exploring their fall 2011 show, the designers making up the los angeles-based label rodarte don’t just like their love—nay, they expect it, and though in more than a few respects, i’ll grant that it is deserved, in others, how many tortured geniuses have struggled through a lifetime of bitter disappointment and less recognition (vincent van gogh, as perhaps the most famous example)? and is that even saying definitively that rodarte belongs in their company? well, perhaps for reasons of my innate skepticism, it’s best for me to refrain judgment.
anyway, exhibited at the pitti w in florence, italy, homegirls drew inspiration from the area itself, with references drawn from the frescoes of fra angelico, gian lorenzo bernini’s ‘the ecstasy of st. teresa’ (getting their pretentious quotes in there with a comment the statue is “so imperfect. but so perfect because he was able to make fabric look better than fabric looks.”), the convent at san marco. ”We have spent countless hours dreaming of the poetic city, every detail magnified by our own curiosity and imagination,” designer laura mulleavy rhapsodized.
the ten-piece collection itself was created of such materials as tulle, taffeta, lame, silk satin, organza, and silk, with their characteristic heavy (yet light-handed) embellishments of swarovski crystals, sequins, beads, painted feathers, pearls, and ruffles. colours, meanwhile, ranged from the of-the-moment brilliant hues of tangerine and pink, to their much-beloved white, a flash of copper, and shades of french blue and cobalt.
and, as style explains, “gowns were structured around a single blueprint: a sculpted torso, a long columnar skirt falling straight to the ground. The silhouette was familiar from classical art. ” going on to note that while the designers have repeatedly argued that notions of ‘old hollywood’ don’t exist for them, the writer marries the collection to it still, something other reviews have likewise gone on to do.
as i’ve often said, these chicks like to play the ‘we so edgy’ card, and while to a certain extent i understand and respect that, when much of your draw comes from associations with film actresses (and costuming their associated movies), are you really gonna get off trying to pretend there’s no commercial aspect to what you do? but i digress.
all of which brings us to point. at the conclusion of the florence showing, rodarte has decided that in lieu of offering up their designs for the wearing pleasure of women, they are donating the full collection to the permanent galleries at the los angeles county museum of art. charitable, no doubt. and, considering that i’ve seen some rodarte offerings (at a museum, no less), i’m not certain their thoughtful creations wouldn’t assimilate well there.
of course, as fierce a proponent as i personally am of the notion of ‘fashion as art’, the act itself gives me a bit of pause i’m not sure i quite get over. as style wonders, “In five centuries, will people be standing in front of Rodarte dresses…?”, i can’t help but ask the similar question, ‘was this a really clever bit of marketing on the part of the house?’ in other words, if the lacma hasn’t chosen to do a retrospective, why not help them along with the issue?
to be sure, even if no cash money is readily made at hand for the present works, what better way to reach a new audience, to revel in the notions of being a ‘museum quality artist’, and simply to amp-up their cultural cache? see it as benevolence, if you please, but i see it as yet another hand turned to the cold world of marketing (and fashion world dominance) the designers are so intent on mastering. and for that, may i add, well played indeed.