Storming through Gotham the Goth Fairy is born at Rodarte

The renaissance of the goth is here; it must be the season of the witch. 

A hypnosis of sparkling tinsel and glistening satin echo through Gotham this season at Rodarte. Onyx-lipped and fiercely doused in eyeliner, models glided down the dark corridors of the Williamsburg Savings Bank. 

Arriving at a candelabra-lined banquet drenched in chrome, guests did not know what to expect; Rodarte hinted at a cornucopia. They delivered exactly that.  

Ravaging through its feast of sartorial delight, they satisfied our ceaseless craving for high-octane glamour this season at New York Fashion Week. 

The renaissance of the goth is here; it must be the season of the witch. 

Courtesy of Rodarte

Last season Rodarte brought us into a supercharged psychedelic theatre. Its Spring/Summer 2023 collection became a sphere of connectivity through performative wear. Vivacious in color and inventive in design, classic slip dresses were revamped in vivacious hues of tangerine, cyan, lime green, and rose-stained pink. 

Using volume as a tool to investigate silhouette, the female form was altered with expansive drapery. Fabrics became a mirage of trailing petals multiplied in claustrophobic compositions across psychedelic skies. Sparkling panels of fringe and asymmetrical necklines called forth the image of a disco goddess. 

This season, Rodarte dims its spirited spectrum as we draw near the witching hour. Relinquishing the vibrance of the flower power goddess to the night, she is baptized in a pond of haunting allure. Ensnaring the gaze of onlookers, models exuded an air of Morticia Adams through their siren-like silhouettes and exaggerative bell sleeves; these hyper-stretched figures swept the runway with their trains ever so delicately lingering like smoke on water. 

Courtesy of Rodarte

As opposed to last season’s mushrooming gowns, its Fall/Winter 2023 collection toyed with silhouettes in the vertical context. It was a spot-on selection to resurrect its knack for shredding and dying cheesecloth. With sleeves bearing the technique characteristic of the house, its feast of velvety darkness had only just begun. 

A macabre rendition of Gibson girls glided past attendees with a brooding charm. Necklines plunged in steep V’s, accentuating chests and cinching waists. It was a dead ringer for Victorian fashion as bonnets, ruffles, and laces galore appeared on the runway. Bias-cut satin and fringe, too, contributed to its all-consuming grim glamour as they swayed with the subtlest movement. 

Courtesy of Rodarte

Indulgent in texture, the design duo adopted fabric as the collection’s muse. Evening gowns magnetized the few remnants of light. Radiating in variations of embellished sequins, lush velvets, and floral appliqués, the night is theirs for the taking. 

Rodarte is, undeniably, a family business right down to its name—seriously, it was inspired when encountering their mother’s maiden name in an old phonebook. The design duo behind the brand views their work as a language of hereditary artistry. Everything in the brand’s ethos circles back to collaboration, from sketching to sending its final looks down the runway. 

Extending its branches of heritage to include their mother’s illustrations in collections, sketches of fairies served as a blueprint for fantasy. Some renditions, more obvious than others, took the form of life-size fairy wings fluttering on the backs of lithe models. Others ensued in repeating her illustrations into patterns that were then abstracted and layered over photographs as fabrics. 

Courtesy of Rodarte

However distinct each sister’s eye for design may be, through the lens of Rodarte, they merge their visions to communicate narratives of expression in a singular voice. Anyone amongst its devout following knows the brand carries its own language that is equally intricate as it is accessible. 

It’s no secret the Mulleavy sisters have always shared an affinity for materializing anomalies lingering in the dark. Consistently deviating from the norm, their practice is anything but orthodox. They live in California, present in New York, and brainstorm all their ideas by hand—even in an era where technology seems to reign supreme.  

When you arrive at a Rodarte show, it’s wise to leave your expectations at the door. Weaving their perceptions of the world through the arts, Laura and Kate Mulleavy once again astonish audiences, provoking delight from the unexpected.  

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