Project Runway is one of my favorite guilty-pleasure shows. Sure, there’s workroom bickering and, sometimes, full-on freak outs (last season, a ticking time bomb contestant literally fled the competition and eliminated himself), but I’m consistently flabbergasted at seeing the designers create pant-suits and ball gowns from items purchased at a hardware or grocery store. Sometimes, they put elements together that seem incongruous at best and disastrous at worst, but once you see the final outfit on the runway, you have to admit that, somehow, they did indeed make it work. The judges generally encourage fashion risks, such as mixing prints or hand-drawn designs, and I can’t help but wonder what they’d think about Rodarte’s Star Wars-themed outfits.
Rodarte is a brand founded by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, UC Berkeley grads who started the clothing line in 2005 and have since won a slew of awards, including a United States Artist Fellowship, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, and the National Art Award. They also have works in the collections of museums around the country, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. So presumably, they know a thing or two about fashion, including how to surprise and delight an audience.
Rodarte showed that expertise off on day six of New York’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (the same fashion show where the top Project Runway contestants get to strut their stuff in the finale). At the end of their runway show, they sent five Star Wars dresses down the runway, featuring bold Luke Skywalker and C-3PO prints, a draped and flowing Yoda skirt, and a somewhat more subtle skirt featuring the twin suns of Tatooine. Hang on — they put Luke on a dress but not Han? That’s a questionable fashion choice right there, but I suppose there’s always room for a follow-up collection with Han, Boba Fett, an asteroid field, Cloud City, and, of course, Jabba.
Heartily applaud this collection I do. If I could afford one of these pieces (the Tatooine one’s my favorite, I think), I’d wear it all the time. I’m a sucker for sci-fi fashions and other cosmic stylings, and the fusion of haute couture and popular culture provides a juxtaposition that brings the best out of runway shows and clothing.
George Lucas wasn’t in attendance at that show, but it’s possible that his attendance at a previous Rodarte runway helped inspire the collection. He attended the 2012 Fashion Week and said he was a fan of the sisters; he apparently sat next to Dakota Fanning and Queen Amidala.
It’s too bad no one will be named the winner of Fashion Week — no question Rodarte would take the crown, or the light saber, without needing to resort to Jedi mind tricks.