The designers commissioned Opie and Soth, both acclaimed documentarians, to record their work in an original way: they asked Opie to photograph models wearing Rodarte garments, and handed Soth a road map of California, marked with suggested subjects that have informed the sisters approach to design (condors, forest fires), before sending him on a two-week road trip.
The results from the studio and the road are quiet and haunting. Opie chose to photograph models, friends and intriguing characters garbed in Rodarte designs against boldly coloured backdrops, while Soth took photographs where he found them. The layout of the images creates links between a crouching woman in a white dress and an egg proffered by an unseen giver; between a model wearing a lime-green dress and a stark desert landscape.
Opie, who documents queer subcultures and Americana, and Soth, a wandering Magnum photographer, both came to the project as relative strangers to the fashion machine (Soth shot Stefano Pilati and Karl Lagerfeld for a Magnum publication called Fashion Magazine in 2007).
The monograph follows the Mulleavys guest-editing stint with Lula
, a museum-like installation at Pitti W
and a full exhibition (including their tutus from
) at Los Angeless Museum of Contemporary Art. Like those projects, Rodarte, Catherine Opie, Alec Soth
proposes that fashion is not merely clothes, but a component of cultural creation.
Rodarte, Catherine Opie, Alec Soth by Kate and Laura Mulleavy publishes with JRP | Ringier in September, for $80 in an edition of 2000.
Rodarte will show its S/S '12 collection in New York on Tuesday, September 13. Check our Catwalk channel for all the latest from NYFW.