Depending who you ask, Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy are either the most wildly over-rated avant garde fashion designers working today or they’re incredible mad geniuses. Personally, I tend to lean towards “mad geniuses” but I consider black a color and once spent a ridiculous amount of time constructing a garment out of carefully hand-dyed mosquito netting, so do with that what you will.
The Mulleavy’s remind me of Ginger and Brigitte, the beleagured sisters in the excellent werewolf/coming of age flick, Gingersnaps. I was searching for the link to the movie’s website when I got the google image search results at the top of the post and they made me laugh so I thought I’d include a screenshot. I doubt many people are looking for that center image when they google, “gingersnaps,” but I could be wrong.
Amanda Fortini wrote an interesting piece, ““The World of Fashion: Twisted Sisters,” in the January 18, 2010 issue of the New Yorker. There’s only an abstract available unless you’re a subscriber, but it’s worth the read if you’re interested in these young artist/designers.
When I started this post, Rodarte was working with M.A.C. Cosmetics on a signature line for Fall 2010 inspired by a roadtrip through Juarez, Mexico. With what can only charitably be referred to as a tin ear, they opined on the ethereal ghostlike quality of the bordertown without ever acknowledging the ongoing violence against women and girls that plagues the area.
Their announcment caused a lot of controversy and outraged fashion and make-up bloggers took them to task with posts such as, “MAC/Rodarte Makeup Collaboration Names Nail Polish After Impoverished, Murdered Women.”
That “any publicity is good publicity” adage? It’s not always true. MAC parent company Estee Lauder quickly announced that they would be renaming parts of the product line and pledging money to a suitable charity. By the time I came back to edit this post, they’d announced on facebook that they wouldn’t be shipping any more items from the collection:
This decision will not impact M·A·C ‘s commitment to donate all of its projected profits from the collection to benefit the women and girls of Juarez.
Out of respect for the people of Mexico, the women and girls of Juarez and their families, as well as our M·A·C Mexican staff and colleagues, M·A·C has made the decision not to ship the M·A·C Rodarte limited edition makeup collection. This decision will have no impact on M·A·C’s commitment to donate all of its projected global profits from this collection to local and international groups that work to improve the lives of the women and girls of Juarez. We are currently conducting due diligence to ensure we donate to organizations with a proven record of directly supporting the women and girls of Juarez.
M·A·C and Rodarte are deeply and sincerely sorry and we apologize to everyone we offended. We have listened very closely to the feedback of concerned global citizens. We are doing our very best to right this wrong. The essence of M·A·C is to give back and care for the community and Rodarte is committed to using creativity for positive social change. We are grateful for the opportunity to use what we have learned to raise awareness on this important issue.
The backlash couldn’t have been a surprise and I’m still scratching my head over how the whole thing happened. Not only is MAC one of the most socially aware companies, but even short blurbs in WWD back in February pointed out that being professing Juarez is your muse put one on shaky ground. Lots of companies pay lip-service to charity, but MAC’s AIDS Fund is the Real Deal. When I was in Development I had some contacts who were very reliable sources about how good the work they do is. (So basically, karmically, you can’t afford not to have at least one Viva Glam lipstick, girls!)
Regardless of who was at fault or what their intentions were, the situation has been resolved and we can all go back to waiting for the MAC/Disney “Venomous Villains” collections to be unveiled next week. Temptalia has an extensive preview to keep us amused in the meantime.
But back to Rodarte….I hope the rumors of a takeover by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) are just rumors, it seems a sure-thing that the line would go from wacky and interesting to safe suburban and take all the fun out of it. On the other hand, it might give the Mulleavy’s a chance to go back to being their wacky selves and creating more wacky fashion and free them from as much time doing business, so maybe it’s not so bad after all.
I started this post before I got pneumonia. I forgot where I was going with it, and I’ve been laying in bed reading or sleeping ever since and I forgot I even had any drafts in the file. I decided to “finish” this one since Rodarte presented their Spring 2011 looks at Mercedes-Benz fashion week yesterday in NYC. I wouldn’t wear many of these looks as they’ve been styled for the runway, but that’s the point of styling things for the runway. There’s lots of fun textures and shapes amidst all that awful 80s plaid, I’m sure none of it conveys well on a laptop screen. Next year someone needs to send me to fashion week so I can report back with more authority.
For all I know, I have an email sending me to fashion week. I’m down to 500 unread emails after the 1st round of triage. I was just too sick to care or comprehend anything that Husband couldn’t interpret for me immediately so a lot of stuff has piled up. Maybe if I’m really lucky, a Nigerian Prince will have a million dollars to send me….I better get back to my email triage in case I have any special messages just for me!