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The Opening Reception of Rodarte Exhibit

Updated: Aug 20, 2019

Elinor Coleman Describes The Opening Reception of Rodarte Exhibit

Nov 2018 at The National Museum of Women in The Arts, WDC

The Rodarte exhibit was an exciting event to which I was looking forward attending before the Thanksgiving holiday season! I have been very interested in the designs and looks of this label since the beginning in 2005, and now I had the opportunity to see the 90 outfits up close and in detail! What a thrill!

Each outfit was so very intricate, and appeared to be created specifically for each body/mannequin, since the garment is sometimes wound around the bust, ribcage, waist line. I thought while viewing some of the outfits that perhaps the structure of the outfit was based upon a leotard or bathing suit or bustierre garment structure.  How would you be able to unwind yourself in order to go to the bathroom? Almost like a mummy wound up in swaddling!

The event was exciting and so intellectually stimulating- the designer outfits created by Rodarte, the couture label,  designed by two  sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who are originally from California, as well as the attendees’ outfits at the National Women’s Art Museum in WDC. There were some wonderful and creative outfits!

The complete second floor of the museum was divided room by room filled with mannequins displaying each season and each year of Rodarte’s history. There were descriptions for each room which presented the source of inspiration for the collection. The mannequins were clothed fully- outfits, jewelry, fascinators, shoes/boots and stockings to display the whole concept for each look.

It was exciting to see the garments and looks up close in this exhibit, but the evening also presented a fun display of the outfits worn by the attendees as well! So after viewing the exhibit, the reception kicked off with attendees eating and drinking on the first floor among the marble double staircases- it was fun and thrilling to see so much fashion while drinking wine, champagne, eating appetizers and people watching!

I could only imagine that the owner of an outfit from Rodarte would need to preserve the couture garment on a mannequin and need two dressers in order to put the garment on properly. Since so many of the outfits presented looked as if yarns, furs, drapes, scarves, were all multi layered on the body in a very specific order.

So for this blog, I am suggesting/offering the looks which indeed showcase some of the unusual draping of threads and scarves.  These do remind me of my historic living and fashion experience in SoHo, NYC and the modern dance scene.

The exhibit is wonderful, and I do encourage you to go attend this museum and view this vision of fashion for yourself and your friends! Overall, because this museum is specifically focused on presenting works of art by women, and because we are in the WDC area, you will be inspired to return regularly for exhibits, lectures, workshops and also spend time in the library as well! Such a treasure trove!

Along the boulevard of New York Avenue, in front of the museum is a wonderful display and sculptural outdoor art exhibit of Betsabee Romero’s work- sculptures of carved and configured tires!

Written, Dec 18, 2018

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