My love/hate for Rodarte.

La Bohème (1926 film)

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I’m in love/hate for Rodarte. I really don’t know whether I love the designs, or hate them. At their most creative the Rodarte sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy conjure up designs that can be described as beautiful, ethereal, wispy, ghostlike, and truly stunning. You imagine tragic heroines like Ophelia, Juliet, Camille and Mimi from La Boheme experiencing glamorous suffering in Rodarte. Rodarte would’ve been the designers of choice for those lost generation divas Zelda Sayre and Lady Otterline Morrell. D W Griffiths would’ve used their costumes to clothe Lilian Gish in all those fab silent weepies like ‘The Wind’. Rodarte is truly beautiful…

But then I get to thinking again and my love affair turns to hate. Is Rodarte beautiful or is it merely tatty? It can look distressed, ripped and ruined, Cinders before the fairy godmother gave her a helping hand. It can look uneven, unfinished and pulled and torn.  Maybe the tragic heroine it most provokes is Miss Haversham in her wedding dress covered in dust and cobwebs!

Maybe I just don’t get it.  Rodarte has been described as ‘Romantic’, but this is romance in a dishevelled, wasted state. Courtney Love and Amanda De Cadenat in their lace nighties and tiaras scream Rodarte…and yet, the sisters also created Kiera Knightley’s most beautiful look, turning her into a goddess rather than a geeky girl with fab abs.

This season, Rodarte have moved slightly away from that bad romance look and have embraced a heavier textured, baboushka lady feel. There are lots of fabrics and print that shouldn’t be mixed together and still work, yet somehow they have managed to create a collection of beauty. But this shouldn’t be the case!

Lets just imagine you got your net curtains, quilt and tablecloth and decided to make an outfit. Well that’s what it looks like Rodarte have done. And yet it evokes special memories and times for me. When I was a little girl spending time at nanny and grandads house, I used to play dressing up in with their wardrobes. I always went for my nans long silky nightdress, but in the days before central heating it was always slightly chilly so I’d stick a big chunky Arran night cardigan over the top. I’d feel warm and snug but with a little bit of cotton and lace still peeking out. I feel that’s Rodarte – original, whimsical and utterly nostalgic.

So would I wear Rodarte, and would it suit a plus size girl.  I think to answer that you need to look at the celebrities who do embrace the label. Kate Bosworth, Natalie Portman, Kirsten Dunst and Mia Wasikowska – waifs one and all.   Emma Watson wears Rodarte and that really says it all. Because for all the promotion of Emma as a new style icon, she still resembles a cute little girl experimenting with a dressing up box. And in the final analysis maybe that’s what the Rodarte collection is – a beautiful, opulent, but for most real women an unwearable collection of dressing up costumes.

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