Fashion designer Robert Rodriguez

Some designers choose to commentate on the world at large through military-inspired jackets, and others offer escapism through abstract and floral prints. But designer Robert Rodriguez is using spring/summer 2010 as an opportunity to give his customers clarity. He describes the inspiration behind his line as, “Just basically a clean feeling.” Labeling his creative process as “old school,” Rodriguez, in town for a trunk show at Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show, told Vegas Seven, he avoids computers and technology as much as possible.

“My creativity comes from within,” he says, clarifying that it’s his job to produce something beautiful and bring it to the masses who are sitting in front of computers, day in and day out. Never exclusionary, he knows that among the masses are his devotees—savvy, stylish and fashionable women who covet trendsetting pieces.

But who exactly is the Robert Rodriguez customer? Is she young or old? Does she work in an office or is she a stay-at-home mom? “I think she is of all ages, but I think she is sexy,” he says. “She’s very strong and body-conscious. When she puts something on, she wants to feel good. She wants to feel pretty.”

Many of Rodriguez’s spring and summer pieces are formfitting, but fear not, the man has a solution for those who are easily intimidated. “Layering is in right now,” Rodriguez says, “and you can wear a body-conscious dress with a boyfriend jacket, or a body-conscious skirt with leggings. I think it’s about how you layer the pieces. It’s really up to the customer and where she wants to take it.” As for the business side of the fashion industry, Rodriguez is optimistic that an upswing is on the horizon. Statistics show that March retail sales were up, and the designer confirms that he has seen healthy sales. “We’ve had a strong year,” he says. “I think everyone last year was in a little bit of a shamble because of the economy. Our brand stayed strong, and it continues to be strong.”

This steadfast attitude is reflected in his designs, which are upbeat and cheerful. This season’s collection includes fiercely pleated pants, sexy lace lingerie-inspired tops and a showstopping sequined tank dress in a muted blush tone—which has proven to be a hot color for spring and summer.

Individually, each Robert Rodriguez piece can be easily mixed with other items in a woman’s wardrobe, from basic T-shirts to vintage accessories. Rodriguez’s designs have a tendency to naturally inspire a woman to create a look that is completely her own. The designer indicates this is done with intention. During the design process, Rodriguez contemplates his customers, their various lifestyles (from soccer moms to nightclub girls) and purposely creates something different for each.

Rodriguez is now looking forward to fall, when his largest collection to date will be unveiled. “It’s all about steampunk,” he says. “It’s a lot of corsets, corset belts, leather pieces, leather combined with wools, cargo pockets and a lot of lace. Very Victorian, but kind of edgy. And there’s a lot of beautiful hardware. We’re doing a lot of necklaces, belts and accessories. Steampunk is all about the hardware, so we took that and we really ran with it. It really is exciting.”