Kate and Laura Mulleavy have gained a name as 'fashion designers for people who love fashion', and their A/W09 collection did nothing to tarnish that reputation. In an inspired collection of swoops and swirls, leather and chiffon, they gave editors and celebs watching from the front row everything they could have wanted.
The sisters largely moved away from the flesh-baring bodices made famous by the likes of Keira Knightley and used their gift in weaving and embellishment to go delicate and romantic. (Well, as delicate as you can be in thigh-high leather boots.) In nude, soft pink, tan and beige, the super-short dresses went asymmetrical, off-the-shoulder, long-sleeved - despite the fundamental similarity of many looks, each piece had its own special weave and silhouette.
Despite the sweet start, the designers veered dark and brought back a bit of their flesh-baring tendencies. Want a thunderstorm over your chest and a loose, loose woven panel over your belly? No problem. The second look here goes Balenciaga-futuristic, and we all know how popular Ghesquiere became after he did the fembot collection...
Kate and Laura Mulleavy eventually added jungle green, goldenrod and powder blue to their woven strips of fabric, and it's perhaps these designs that I like best. Each piece looks like a tenderly crafted, passionately inspired surrealist painting - some fresh and clean, others faded and aged, but no matter what, breathtaking. With hem length and footwear virtually the same on every look, it takes true talent to make the top half interesting.
Seen alone, each of the 34 looks in the Rodarte collection would seem to have been born out of a one-off burst of creativity. The thing that makes these designers great is that they've had those bursts dozens of times each season since at least 2005.