Sep 102007

NEW YORK, September 08, 2007 – Swish, swish, swish went the makeshift fans. The credits sheets that sat on every chair at Rodarte were being put to good use because it was beyond hot in the Chelsea venue Dia thanks to there being no air-conditioning. (Having the Human League’s “Being Boiled” as part of the soundtrack was, however, pretty funny.) Or maybe everyone was feeling the heat because of a welling excitement at what they were seeing on the runway.

Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy were in their finest form ever: fluid, voluminous jackets and pleated skirts in pretty, watery pastel shades. And for all the light and airy inventiveness of the Mulleavys, what they do looks great off the runway and on real woman. A point evidenced by the presence of the Rodarte-wearing Dr. Lisa Airan (an ivory gazar pouf jacket and pencil skirt) and Liz Goldwyn (a hot pink tiered dress).

Even the French, who know a thing or two about fashion’s fancier forms of expression, looked impressed. “Rodarte brings a touch of haute couture to New York,” said Virginie Mouzat, the fashion critic of French newspaper Le Figaro. “What Kate and Laura do is so rare, so precious.”

Backstage Beauty Note: It’s shaping up to be all about contrast this spring, and nowhere was there a better example than at Rodarte. The clothes were fashioned in frothy, sheer layers of pale blue, pink, and lavender that would befit a ballerina, but the hair and makeup took a punky turn—as did the spiked and strappy zippered stilettos specially made by Christian Louboutin.

In a season where there hasn’t been much breaking news in terms of hair, the Mulleavy sisters collaborated with Parisian coiffeuse Odile Gilbert to send something truly refreshing—edgy and softly pretty at once down the runway: sleek, super-high ponytails with bright pink, blue, and red ends. Hand-dyed by Gilbert in her Paris atelier, the colored extensions (coordinated to compliment the palette of the clothes) made the otherwise demure ponies look as though they’d been absentmindedly dipped in color at the ends. “They wanted a very straight, high ponytail that looked like it had a touch of paint,” said Gilbert. “It’s very rock ‘n’ roll.”

Raven-haired dermatologist Dr. Lisa Airan loved the hair so much she begged Gilbert for a pony-to-go. She gamely slipped her a pink one. Airan tucked it into her fuchsia alligator Herm Birkin bag with a smile on her face.

The concept for the stark, graphic faces came to M.A.C makeup artist James Kaliardos in a dream. “I woke up the day of the makeup test and remembered that I had dreamt of floating lines,” he said. On show day, that translated to powder blue lids with a double stroke of black liner—one line was catlike and extending slightly from the upper lid, and another was floating above and arching even further outward.

Photo: JP Yim /



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