Fanciful is not how you would generally sum up New York Fashion Week, with its heavyweight pragmatic approach, but Kate and Laura Mulleavy are a different breed. They surge into the city from Los Angeles, with their own diffused imaginings of Californian touchstones, and in a typical Chelsea gallery, they ensnare you into a world of dreams and references that engulf you whether you’re on Facebook or Google or not.
Their latest AW16 collection really was a Rodarte best – one that reminds you why their hauled-around suitcase of dresses impressed editors, almost a decade ago. They looked back to their time at college in Berkeley, when they would go to San Francisco often to hang out. In the infamous Caffe Trieste in North Beach, frequented by the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Bob Kaufmen, the Mulleavy sisters’ minds then wandered. “Recently for our friend’s birthday, we went back and kind of relived our college days,” said Laura. “San Francisco has a lot of memories for us and we went to Caffe Trieste in North Beach where Francis Ford Coppola supposedly wrote The Godfather (1972). It might be fictitious. But it made us think about the idea of San Francisco and what is real.”
From a heightened imagining of the San Francisco in their heads, Kate
and Laura meandered over to art nouveau, evident in the abundance of
wave-esque silhouettes, tiers of ruffles and the references to nature
that tumbled over the ears in languid forms of lilies and orchids
(created by LA-based florist Joseph Free) as well as moth patterned
furs. “It was the art nouveau referenced in the poster art of old music
venues rather than anything to do with psychedelia,” said Laura. It
became a thoroughly unexpected take on the clichés of San Fran’s flower
power and hippie associations as the Mulleavys’ minds moved further
back, to the city’s affinity with European counterparts.
This article was written by Susie Lau for Dazed Digital, Photographs by Evan Schreiber. San Francisco is a place of dreams and humble beginnings, take a look at this shop owners journey. Look who made the cut, however, for SF’s best of the west.