This week I went to preview the Rodarte for Target collection. Although I'd gotten my hands on the look book a few weeks ago and seen the fantastic picture of Dakota Fanning wearing the leopard-print dress ($45) in Teen Vogue, I didn't want to write about the clothes until I'd seen them in person. There've been too many times when I've seen Target or H&M or Topshop clothes that have looked great in photos only to find that when I got to the store the fit and/or quality was not something I would spend money on.
What I like about the Rodarte clothes for Target is that Kate and Laura Mulleavy-who are known for their exquisitely ornate confections at sky-high designer prices-didn't try to morph what they show on the runway into something that could be sold for a fraction of the price. It seems to me that they chose styles and fabrics that suited the modest price tags. As Sally Singer notes in Vogue's December issue, Laura Mulleavy once turned up at a dinner during Paris Fashion Week wearing a brooch she described as "Sears. Twelve dollars." The Mulleavys, in other words, understand high-low.
The clothes look and feel inexpensive, but in a good, authentic way. In general, the collection is a well-edited version of thrift-store greatest hits. And I mean thrift store, not trendy vintage store. There are sexy/sweet polyester-ish slip dresses, a furry faux-leopard peacoat, a demure sixties-inspired black lace dress, and a thin belt adorned with a bow. As I was pushing the clothes down the racks, I have to admit that I pretty much dismissed the dresses as too recognizable and fit specific, although I thought they'd really look cute on a young 20-something with just the right boob size to fill out the cups.
The only dress that tempted me was the one Dakota wore-I have a small collection of inexpensive leopard-printed items in my closet, and this could be a good addition. But the first wave of real lust overcame me when I spotted the lace cardigans. I want them in every color.
If you've been reading this blog regularly you also know that I'm going to grab every pair of lace tights I can get my hands on. (I'm still wearing the heart-embroidered Viktor & Rolf for H&M tights I bought in 2006.) The belts got me too. I'll take one of each-the brown leopard, the black leopard, and the solid black.
Another stunner was the denim shorts with a braided edge. About five years ago, Chloé did a denim collection with the same detail; I bought the miniskirt in blue denim, but always regretted not getting more. I don't know if the Rodarte girls were inspired by the Chloé ones or whether both Chloé and Rodarte were inspired by the same vintage find. Nonetheless, I'm thrilled to have another shot at them.
There's a cute print that appears on a T-shirt, a raincoat, and a bathing suit, but it's too specific for me; I feel I'd wear it once and move on. I was more excited by the classic navy-and-white long-sleeve tee; I'd stock up on two of those. And, lastly, I thought some of the bathing suits looked really promising. While the floral ones seemed like they were made for girls with great big boobs (not me), I was drawn to the more lingerie-looking lacy stuff. The idea of braving a bunch of psycho girls ready to tear your hair out to get their hands on affordable Rodarte intimidates me quite considerably, but I'll definitely make the effort to get to Target good and early when the collection hits the racks on December 20, and you should, too.
-Amanda Brooks, author of I Love Your Style
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