On the Meaning of Rodarte’s Win

The Mulleavy sisters with their biggest fan.

In the aftermath of the CFDA madness, some lingering thoughts: We couldn't help but sense a sort of tenderness to the event, perhaps because of the noticeable emphasis on family: Stephen Kolb welcomed the CFDA scholarship winners to their "new family," Diane Von Furstenberg reminded the roomful of colleagues that "we are family," and the big winners of the night, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, are sisters.

No one needs reminding that the fashion industry is in a treacherous state of flux (when Antoine Arnault, scion of LVMH, is freely using the word "horrific" to describe 2009, you know things are bad). But Rodate's win helps one to keep the faith: The dresses are outrageously costly, and no, they are not for the masses. They are a tiny, niche brand appreciated for their creativity, their independent thinking, and their beautiful product. Of course, tiny niche brands cannot keep the industry afloat — can anything right now? — but they can keep people interested and engaged. Which, for the moment, seems like a reasonable thing to ask for.