For those who religiously follow fashion’s every catwalk and wade through designers’ reported inspirations, this is unlikely to register as newness. But I’ll offer it up anyway because it has less to do with fashion and more with geographic citation as practice.
A little while back, deep in the determinedly cosmopolitan exploits of Vogue‘s AndrÃ© Leon Talley (most recently, he shops with Michiko Kakutani and Maureen Dowd), I came across a note about Rodarte’s Fall 2010 ready-to-wear collection and the source of its creative energies ““ maquiladoras in Mexico’s Ciudad JuÃ¡rez. Yes, maquiladoras. The same maquiladoras that serve as the site for violence, exploitation and femicide, all neatly brokered by global corporate capitalism. The same ones featured in Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre’s documentary Maquilapolis. According to a Style.com piece, for Rodarte, the image of women making their way to factories in the middle of the night translated into an aesthetic of dreams and sleepwalking, complete with candlesticks for heels. As if to authenticate their interpretation, Kate and Laura Mulleavy ““ the sister design duo behind Rodarte ““ are quick to cite their Mexican roots and of course, the metaphoric journey through heritage that magically turned violence into floral patchwork, pastels, and embroidered leggings (they drove through Texas; El Paso to Marfa). Check out selections below and the full collection here. For me, questions of witness, creative translation and gnawing traditions of inspire-mutilate-and-move-on abound.