We all have fantasy careers. I’ve always thought it would be great to be an Off-Broadway actor. I would invite my cohorts over to my Hell’s Kitchen apartment after a weeknight show, and we would drink Powers whisky and smoke cigarettes until the wee hours; mornings would be slow, slightly hazy, and then during the afternoons the energy would return, the big emotional build-up to the next show. Lights, applause, repeat.
In lieu of this, and given the opportunity to contribute here at The The, I thought I would try my hand at fashion correspondent for a second week. No jet-setting, alas, but rather a comfortable seat at my L.A. desk, from which I look through the phantasmagoric looking glass (i.e. internets) at my neighbors, the Rodarte sisters, showing their Fall 2010 collection back in New York.
In case you haven’t heard of these young phenoms, have a look at the profile that appeared in The New Yorker last month. The Mulleavy sisters are conceptually minded, savantish, happy to play the outsider card when it suits, preternaturally savvy at a punk brand of showmanship. I can’t decide how I feel about their project, but I like that it’s a project, that they are hungry to shake things up. They experiment in a way that I, most definitely a fashion layman, can understand, that is to say physically and emotionally: chopping, burning, joining fabrics; choosing outré conceits and letting their imaginations go wild; sitting around in their Los Angeles studio and thinking, talking, doing nothing productive.
The new collection is based on time the Mulleavys spent in the desert Southwest, in economically distressed towns where women wake up in the middle of the night to go to factory jobs; the idea is that you’re almost sleepwalking as you get dressed, pulling clothes blindly from the darkness of sleep, or your drawers. It’s far-fetched, I know, but it’s also a compelling re-imagination of practicality, quite literally a cut-up, turning-inside-out of the idea that high fashion should somehow be related to what people ‘actually wear.’ It’s also a bit crass, which is endearing or offensive, depending on your position.
Anyway, I like the unexpected bluish woolly half of the form-fitted kilt-like thing in the photo above. And in this I like the tough, toreador look combined with sleeves that look like Icarus’s arms after the fall:
From what I understand reading the experts, the collection has met mixed-reviews. I haven’t read any of the 13-year-old experts on this particular collection yet, but I’m sure they could teach me a thing or two.