[Images collaged and taken from Vogue.co.uk].
Rodarte's S/S12 catwalk show was pure Van Gogh sunshine and sky blue.
March 30th would have been Vincent Van Gogh's birthday, and all the sunflower fever got me thinking about the distinct impression of the great man that the Mulleavy sisters, a.k.a. design duo Rodarte, left on their Spring/Summer 2012 collection. It's not as if they were influenced by a retrospective or a big anniversary (he's only 159 this year!) but it was clear that he was in their sights when they designed these dresses, which were a mixture of flowing fabrics and stiff collars or angular sections that chopped into the print. When I originally reported on Rodarte S/S12, it's fair to say that most of the range was underwhelming compared to the girls' normal standards of sumptuous, gloomy glamour, but you can't please everyone, especially not lowly fashion bloggers from England, all of the time.
Turquoise and purple pieces reflected Van Gogh's intense use of colour.
What strikes me, looking at these photos on reflection, is how buoyant a lot of the patterns and embellishment seems, from the evening dresses with their tiers of lace and chiffon like painted forms, to the simple skirts that were cut from buttercup yellow silk. Whereas the original Van Gogh paintings can seem more sinister or frantic - especially if you've ever studied History of Art - the clothing produced by Rodarte glossed over that and focused on blasts of colour. The only indication of something deeper was the harsh eyeliner, seemingly taken from Taylor Momsen or the emo kids that hang around town centres, worn with a confident but angry pout. Other than that, this was mainstream Vincent in positive mode, with brushstrokes and delicate forms, and Rodarte were keen to emphasise it as much as possible.
[Image from Lolroflmao.com].
Now this is how to celebrate the big day, Van Gogh-style. It's strange and unfortunate to think that he didn't achieve much critical acclaim in his lifetime, yet we're still raving about him 159 years from where it all began.
Happy 159th, Vincent - still inspiring us in 2012.