Rodarte for Target

7 years ago

I got to Target around 4 in the afternoon last Monday and the section of the store near the entrance where the Go International line always hangs was virtually empty. Rodarte for Target debuted this past Sunday and I felt mildly pleased with myself, as if I were privy to some small fashion secret that my fellow Target shoppers were sadly unaware, preoccupied as they were with last-minute Christmas shopping. I alone knew that beautiful and beautifully priced Rodarte frocks were hanging in our midst. It soon became apparent, however, that I was just one of many women scrambling to buy designer looks at Target prices.

Already, the dress sizes were picked over, a plethora of the much too small and much too large for me available, and I had to comb the racks to find my size for a few pieces. And slowly but surely, a trickle of fashionable women crowded around me, teenagers with their moms or girlfriends, girls who might be home from college on winter break, women making the necessary stop on the way home from the office. The secret was definitely out. Rodarte was at Target.

It wasn't quite a frenzy, no, but I was glad that I had a good twenty minutes to comb the racks myself before I had to elbow for floor space. Either way, it was well worth the effort.

The designers behind Rodarte, sister duo Kate and Laura Mulleavy, were inspired in part by the leading women in three films: Faye Dunaway in “Bonnie & Clyde,” Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby and Ruth Gordon in “Harold & Maude.” Sadly (and rather embarassingly), I've never seen any of those movies so their work with Tavi Gevinson of Style Rookie, a 13-year-old fashion muse/blogger, is far more interesting to me. I love that a girl barely on the cusp of adolescence - a time when "style" to me meant wearing baby tees emblazoned with "CALVIN KLEIN" and huge (the huger the better!) bell bottom jeans - has such confidence in how she presents herself to the world, enough that she caught the eye of Mulleavy sisters who approached her about their Target line.

And indeed, Rodarte for Target is a youthful line, full of whimy and fun, but with a definite edge which easily reminds me of the kids I went to school with that I always secretly admired - kids who were labeled "weird" by the Calvin Klein label wearing masses, but who in reality dressed in a way that spoke to their creativity and confidence.

But back to the clothes. The clothes!

I found that the pieces that I'd heard raved about the most - the Sequined Leopard Print Dress,  the Crepe Slip Lace Dress and the ochre colored Mesh Lace Cardigan - were the ones I liked the least. I don't like animal prints as a rule, the Crepe Slip Lace Dress looked cheaply made in person and the much-raved about ochre color just didn't do it for me.

Crepe Slip Lace Dress

black Crepe Slip Lace Dress ($39.99) and ochre Mesh Lace Cardigan ($29.99) and Lace and Tulle Skirt ($29.99)

Others weren't even on the racks.

Sequin Rib Cage Dress ($49.99)

But many of the pieces I really liked. A lot. I loved the sheer navy tulle pieces:

Lace and tulle skirt ($29.99) and tulle bow blouse ($24.99), both in navy. (Please excuse my lumpily made bed, thanks!)

The lace under the tulle on the skirt wouldn't have worked well alone and in fact I avoided the similarly styled camisoles because the lace looked cheap alone, but overlayed with the pleated tulle, the lace just peeking through, it's one of my favorite pieces of the collection. I've always wanted a pleated skirt and I've never been able to afford one and now I have one!

Paired with the sheer navy tulle blouse (I wore it over a black nursing top in the picture - so sexy!), the set is dressy enough to be worn to a party. Just for kicks, I copied the Target model's styling, but with my own denim jacket and loved the more dressed down look.

Denim Jacket ($39.99), but I like my old jacket better.

I love the bows hanging down from the wrists. It really is a beautiful piece.

I brought both Lace Halter Dresses ($44.99) home because even though I liked the black better in the store, the printed-on-lace floral print intrigued me. Besides, I always seem to revert to the black version of dresses.

Lace Halter Dress, black

Lace Halter Dress, pink (I'm having too much fun with these pictures, no? Also, please excuse my legs. I can hear my mother telling me to close them everytime I look at this picture.)

And yet, maybe there's a reason I keep picking the black dress. The white dress was cute and I loved the juxtaposition of the black ribbon on the white dress, but the white seemed to make me look wider on an already somewhat heavy dress. The black, on the other hand, still had the bouncy skirt and great silhouette while also making me look slim. So I kept the black and returned the white.

I didn't like the Mesh Lace Cardigan in black or ochre, but in beige?

Much better. I'm actually wearing this exact outfit as I type. The bow blouse and denim leggings are my own. You can't see it in the picture, but the pockets on the cardigan have this sweet pleated detailing and three extra buttons on one side, I suppose if you'd like to button it asymetrically, but the extra buttons (while buttoned correctly) lends just the teeny bit of oddness that makes the piece special, but still wearable.

Lace and tulle skirt in ochre paired with my own blouse, sweater vest and leggings. (The sweater vest, coincidentally, is Thakoon for Target.)

I didn't end up keeping this skirt. The styling here is, I admit, kind of odd, but partly because I had no idea what to do with this skirt. The lace is beautiful on this skirt (actually much nicer than the lace on the navy skirt), but the tulle was overlayed asymetrically and though it was beautiful to look at on the hanger, it just didn't wear well for some reason.

This last piece is why I find it so hard to pick my favorite piece. I thought it was the black halter dress and then I saw the sheer navy blouse, but finally I saw this raincoat and I just about did a jig in the middle of the Target aisle. At first sight of this coat (it was the last piece I looked at) I even lost just a teensy bit of cool and started panicing about them having my size.

I needn't have worried.

Kimono Floral Print Hooded Raincoat ($39.99)

The cut on this coat is very straight up and down, which felt a bit odd after all the fitted pieces in the collection, but it works. And though the cut is simple, the details on the coat are typical for Rodarte, but suprising nonetheless on a coat in this price range. It has four pockets - two normal sized ones at the hip and two tiny ones at the stomach. The buttons are copper-colored, along with copper pulls on the cord for the hood. The hood is removable. Best of all, the coat comes with a little bag to stuff your hood (or the whole jacket) in when not in use. And the bag has a cute little bow on the front. Squee!

See? Bag? Bow? Squee!?

Unfortunately, the Rodarte for Target collection is selling out really, really fast. Especially online. I went back today to my local Target to return the pieces I could live without and there was still a pretty good selection so if you have a Target nearby and you can't find the piece you want on the website anymore, try the store. It's worth the trouble (and not only because then you get to peruse Target's dollar bins!). The collection as a whole is a refreshingly creative departure from the rather safe basics that a lot of the other Go International lines have produced (and that Target itself is quite good at) without being so over the top that it isn't approachable for most women. It's challenging (in a good way), but still totally wearable.

Photos with model courtesy of Target. Photos of me courtesy of myself.

Nina Moon

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