The New Yorker on Rodarte: the emperor has no clothes

The New Yorker on Rodarte: the emperor has no clothes

A look from Rodarte's Target collection (Photo from Target)

Rodarte is probably one of the most talked about fashion lines coming out of the States right now. In only five years and with no formal training, sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy have nabbed over $200,000 in industry prizes, won the endorsement of Vogue editor Anna Wintour and designed a sought-after diffusion line for Target. In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, writer Amanda Fortini documents the ascent of the avant-garde designers but isn’t as awed by the sisters Mulleavy as the rest of the fashion world.

Fortini describes Kate as “zaftig” (our favourite new euphemism for “fat”) and takes note of part-eaten boxes of mini-cheesecakes lying around the studio. She also classifies Kate’s sweater as “the sort a frumpy older lady might wear.” But sharper criticisms are aimed at the Target line.

Too much of it—the slip dresses that recall thrift-store lingerie, the cheap mesh that channels Annie Potts’s prom dress in Pretty in Pink—looks like resale fare re-imagined: Goodwill for people who might not want to brave the wilds of Goodwill’s racks… And, of course, the clothes do not offer the intrinsic thrill of classic Rodarte: owning a piece of wearable art.

But even though Fortini seems to prefer the sisters’ high-end creations, she doesn’t offer much love for the most recent collection.

But, creative as it all was, it was difficult to imagine any woman suiting up in tatters for a formal event, let alone a business function. Even for an unconventional occasion, the ragged clothes seemed too fragile for the thousands of dollars they would cost.

Is Fortini telling it like it is or are Rodarte’s pieces worth every penny?

Twisted sisters [The New Yorker]