The creative team behind Rodarte seduced audiences at New Fashion Week with avant-garde hair, makeup, and clothes seemingly straight out of Tim Burton’s wild imagination: blood red lips, black body paint, sky high heels, and bondage-inspired fashions.
Designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy
Rodarte is the brainchild of sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who founded the company in 2005, when they returned to their hometown of Pasadena after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. Since the launch of their first collection in February 2005, the sisters have received numerous awards and industry accolades, including the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award.
Today the brand is stocked by over 40 of the world’s top retailers. Rodarte’s list of celebrity clients has grown to include Michelle Obama, Tilda Swinton and Dita Von Teese, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s designs have been added to the permanent collections at both the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum in New York.
The Rodarte Collection
Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s new collection features sexy, provocative styles that bring together Goth and tribal, man-made and organic. Models seem wrapped in plastic, leather, rattan or tulle – naughty bondage dream visions brought to life. The look is raw, sexy, edgy, futuristic yet primitive.
The dramatic styles, while not for everyone, are rapidly gaining in popularity. Rodarte’s recent designs have appeared in numerous fashion magazines, including a spread entitled “Tim Burton’s Magical Fashion” in Harper’s Bazaar, in which a Rodarte jacket and gloves were used to bring Edward Scissorhands back into the spotlight. The duo’s dark design sensibility was in evidence in the clothes, hair, and make-up presented at New York Fashion Week.
Tribal Body Make-up by M.A.C.
According to Vogue‘s Catherine Piercy, Kate and Laura Mulleavy enlisted the help of M.A.C. body painting specialist Chantel Miller to create a unique look. Miller took over 30 days to develop the designs, which were kept top secret until the last minute. The result was an artful blend of Goth and tribal, inspired by the traditional tattoos of New Zealand’s Maori people.
“The idea was to create something dark, beautiful, and a little bit scary,” says key makeup artist James Kaliardos. (Vogue Backstage Buzz, September 18, 2009.)
Organic Hairstyles by Aveda
Inspired by images of native North American people photographed by Edward Curtis, the models’ hairstyles were sophisticated yet bare-bones – almost unkempt – and used black netting and wool to echo the collection’s raw, organic feel.
How to Get The Look
This style can be recreated with or without black netting.
- Prep wet hair with a styling foam and blow dry using fingers.
- Layer hair with a potion such as Aveda Pure Abundance.
- Rake through to create rough texture and volume.
- Twist and pin the sides back with black hairpins, away from the face, to create a roughed-up cascade.
- Twist sides of hair back and secure at ear-level with black hair pins.
- Take a piece of natural black wool and stretch it open with fingers.
- Twirl and drape yarn through length of hair, and tie at the end to create the illusion of a ponytail.
- Mist with a finishing spray, for hold.
(Odile Gilbert, Aveda Trend Report Notes, September 2009.)
To find out how to recreate the hairstyles showcased in the Rodarte show, watch the official behind-the-scenes Avedavideos on YouTube. To learn more about Kate and Laura Mulleavy or view videos of their latest collection, visit the Rodarte website. To find out about other hot looks seen at New York Fashion Week, read all about Jason Wu, Christian Siriano and Yigal Azrouël.