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Strange collection it was: Rodarte uses Yoda, Luke Skywalker on its designer gowns

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - If you were going to buy a silk charmeuse designer gown for thousands and thousands of dollars, would you want it to be emblazoned with the image of Luke Skywalker, C-3PO or Yoda?

If you would, you're in luck, because that's just how Rodarte ended its runway show on Tuesday, with one gown devoted to each of those "Star Wars" icons. High-end fashion, or pop culture kitsch? As always, the verdict was a study in subjectivity.

Designer-sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy presented another garment destined to result in seriously divided opinions: the shoulder-less coat, which is exactly what it sounds like: coats with cutouts where the shoulders would be. It came in grey and black wool, but also in fuchsia glitter. There was also a "death star" gown in black.

On the subtler side, there were some truly lovely striped lace gowns in appealing colours, demonstrating the Mulleavys' talent for craftsmanship.

But what was up with those "Star Wars" gowns?

"I mean that was like our big obsession" as kids growing up in California, said Kate. "It definitely was coming into this collection. You know, I think for us, growing up when we did, I think that's kind of one of the huge things that really influenced our culture and I just thought it was an important thing to put in it. I also feel like those films are all about imagination ... so I felt like it was a kind of a really beautiful way to end what the collection was for us."

In a nutshell, the sisters said, the collection was about childhood nostalgia.

"It's kind of all our memories coming together in something that's expressive," Kate added. "So it wasn't about a specific place, 'cause I think memory is so disjunctive. It was more about kind of piecing together the things that we wanted to build this world out of."

Rodarte perennial fan Dakota Fanning was in the audience. "I thought it was amazing ... I'm happy for Kate and Laura," she said.

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