There was a steady rain coming down as guests were handed transparent umbrellas and seated in a flower-strewn cemetery in Manhattan’s East Village for the return of Rodarte, designed by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, to New York Fashion Week.

There were grumbles as guests sat down on waterlogged wooden chairs, hastily wiped off with paper towels by harried assistants.

[The collection] was more organic this time ... We started thinking about rose gardens, but also the 1950s, and [American sculptor Alexander] Calder and Picasso ... The starting place was just wanting something colourful
Designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Rodarte

Yet although it may have seemed the weather was going to ruin Sunday evening’s show, the opposite proved true.

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Somehow the raindrops and the misty air at the 19th-century Marble Cemetery enhanced both the visuals and the mood, providing a perfect backdrop for the filmy, floral creations from the Rodarte spring-summer 2019 collection that the Mulleavys specialise in.

Guests were particularly taken with the rose-bedecked tulle veils and flowered headdresses that made the models look like gorgeous ghosts from a past century, perhaps a reference to the burial chambers below.

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The models even managed to avoid tripping on the rain-soaked pathway, or getting stuck in wet earth as they stood, calmly, in the grass once they had finished their walks.

At points it was hard to tell, even from very close, whether you were seeing raindrops or actual crystals sewn onto the dresses – a rather seductive problem. Kate Mulleavy said later that she had been deeply affected during the show, in part because of the challenging logistics.

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️ Marland (ph: @coreytenold for @voguemagazine). #rodarte

A post shared by RODARTE (@rodarte) on Sep 10, 2018 at 7:37am PDT

“I don’t usually get emotional but backstage I was emotional today, for sure,” she said.

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Mulleavy added that she and her sister felt that fashion had “a romantic love affair with New York”.

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Magic @_lilystewart_ at the Rodarte SS19 show last night (ph: @vnina for @tmagazine). #rodarte

A post shared by RODARTE (@rodarte) on Sep 10, 2018 at 4:06pm PDT

She said they had temporarily moved their show to Paris, as have a number of other American designers, partly because of the more advantageous marketing schedule.

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Beautiful Eliza Thank you @sultrabeauty for the incredible hair tools for the show! Odile created magic!

A post shared by RODARTE (@rodarte) on Sep 10, 2018 at 7:14am PDT

“That is a big part of our reality,” she said of business concerns, “but it shouldn’t be the ruling part. There is also the creativity.”

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Mulleavy said the inspiration for Sunday’s show was no more specific than “a wild rose garden”.

“It was more organic this time,” she said of the development of the new collection.

“We started thinking about rose gardens, but also the 1950s, and [American sculptor Alexander] Calder and Picasso,” she said.

“But we didn’t have an outline of a whole story.”

Laura Mulleavy said that the duo had also been listening to British singer Kate Bush for inspiration.

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“The starting place was just wanting something colourful,” she said.

“Then you find a fabric you like and it spirals in your head. You know when it feels right.”

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