In the 10 years that Rodarte has dazzled the fashion world with its whimsical and ethereal designs—fully on display at yesterday’s spellbinding anniversary show—the sister design duo, Laura and Kate Mulleavy, have attracted a coterie of equally beguiling loyalists to the brand. Creative, bold, and fashion-forward, the Rodarte cabal is a fascinating group of women, including the brand’s newest devotee, Tessa Thompson.
The Creed and Selma actress has made some of her biggest red carpet moments in the line’s wildly fantastical patchwork gowns. Yesterday, slipping into a look straight from the Spring 2016 collection, including its metallic cutout glam-rock knee-high boots, Thompson scanned the Fall runway for her next awards season look. Apparently it wasn’t too hard to find: “There was a silver dress with a high slit that blew me away almost instantly. I was sitting next to Kirsten Dunst, and we joked that we’ll have to fight for it!”
We’ll leave it to them to duke it out over that one, but in the meantime, Thompson tells us about her favorite Northern California style muses and which piece from the Rodarte archive she’s dying to get her hands on.
I know you’ve always been a fan of Rodarte’s shoes, but what did you think about the way they stepped up their accessories game this season with orchid earrings and leather ruffle boots?
I just adore their jewelry, belts, and shoes. I especially loved the whole Art Nouveau inspiration for the show and collection. I’ve always gravitated to vintage—somehow I’ve often felt more myself in things from ages ago—so Rodarte’s use of those themes has always moved me. And their sense of adventure! There is a kind of wink to their designs that I find so irresistible.
You’re a Cali girl and the collection was such an homage to the bohemian Berkeley ingenue. Do you have a Northern California style muse of your own?
I’m such a fan of Black Panthers Angela Davis and Kathleen Cleaver, for their incredible grace, style, grit, conviction, and, of course, amazing hair. I’m also a longtime fan of Joan Didion. She is the ultimate transplanted Cali girl and her writing is some of my favorite.
Rodarte’s designs are so much about the fantastical. How do you implement such whimsical clothes into your day-to-day style? Or do you tend to save them for special occasions?
The times when I’ve gotten to wear Rodarte head to toe, I feel transformed into some otherworldly being. But I find wearing their pieces with everyday looks to be so much fun. Their shoes are so well made and comfortable that you can live in them. Their T-shirts are easy and they’re the only ones with a brand name that I’d wear. This winter I’ve worn their knits a ton!
The Mulleavy sisters are celebrating the label’s 10th anniversary. I’m curious if you could go back in the archives, what would be the one piece you’d most like to wear?
Basically every piece from their Fall 2012 collection. There are two dresses in that collection that feature a print with hands. I love those. And this black dress with gold detailing and the most perfect collar. But really, that season is the way I would dress every day and night, if I could.
Rodarte after-parties are legendary and can turn into epic dance parties. What’s one of your favorite memories from these nights?
Oh, goodness. Last night was one for the books, truly. This last year’s Rodarte prom in L.A. was special because I went with my girlfriends as a sort of The Craft punk girl band in matching clothes. Also, I went as Prince to an epic Halloween party they threw and that was among one of my favorite nights ever.
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