Van Gogh + ’50s prom = Rodarte Spring 2012

Is it surprising at all that the celebrity-filled front row of Rodarte was populated by teen girls? Only gamines like Tavi Gevinson, Dakota and Elle Fanning, Taylor Swift and Saoirse Ronan could pull off these technicolor frocks, with their fit ‘n flare shapes, without looking totally ridiculous. (Beyonce was there too, but, with the exception of some of the peplumed pant suits, I don’t see her wearing these clothes.) Even the references were the stuff of teen dreams: the passionate, earnest landscapes of Van Gogh, the colors from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, the prom-dress shapes.

Still, the collection wasn’t totally saccharine. The Rodarte girl, after all, is a bit dark and quirky. The prints on her dresses sometimes look distorted or pixelated, and the retro shapes feel more defiantly kitschy than nostalgic.

Van Gogh’s “Still Life: Vase with 12 Sunflowers”, from Wikipedia; Rodarte dresses from Vogue.com; Van Gogh’s “Irises”, from the J. Paul Getty Museum; “The Starry Night”, from MOMA; “Almond Blossom”, from the Van Gogh Museum

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