Jul 01, 2011 12:00AM

Rodarte Pitti Immagine Collection

Ethereal gowns and abandoned factories.

Eighty-eight brands were selected to present at the prestigious Pitti. Amongst them, Rodarte was a stand out. With a helping hand from Alexandre de Betak and Bureau Betak, sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy used neon tubing and old, cracked mirrors to transform an abandoned factory building in central Florence into a customised space. They suspended ten floor-length gowns from the ceiling, each one carefully constructed from feathers, Swarovski crystals, silk georgette, chiffon, organza, satin, taffeta, lame, sequins, and tulle. Four of the gowns even incorporated hand-forged gold metal pieces in breastplates, belts and metal headbands. The colour palette included pink, melon, gold, white, aqua, pistachio, dusty blue, lapis lazuli, lavender, mauve and crimson.

The hanging dresses recalled classical sculptures. Unsurprisingly, the sisters were inspired by Florentian art history and religious iconography, specifically Fra Angelico's frescoes in the monks' cells at the Convent of San Marco and Bernini's The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. If you weren't one of the lucky few invited to preview their work, you can see the collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where the pieces will live on after Pitti.

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