March 31, 2011
6 years after creating the Rodarte brand, sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy are putting on an exhibition that looks at their past and present collections, including those stunning designs from Black Swan.
States of Matter is being held at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, and the 20-piece show includes several looks from their ballerina collection, shown 2 years ago in New York, as well as the costumes worn by Natalie Portman for her Oscar-winning role in Black Swan. It also displays their Spring and Autumn/Winter 2010 collections. The exhibition aims to present Rodarte’s designs as sculptural works of art, instead of standard garments. The clothes are presented on forms, made from cord plastic material, that are cut to mimic the shape of the dress or tutu being shown. The display tries to step away from using traditional mannequins, as the forms are hung from the ceiling on a wire to showcase the shape and construction of the designs. The tutus are also connected to a motor that spins at one revolution per minute to capture the movement of a ballerina.
The Mulleavy sisters have certainly earned their stripes with the art world, including MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch – a dealer in modern and contemporary art. He says that after seeing one of their shows, he “realised they were creating art using fashion as their medium.” Deitch also describes their work as “distinct from other designers” and likens it to the work of artists rather than fashion designers. Rodarte are known for their rich and multilayered collections, including; wool, embroidered gauze, pleated silk chiffon, lace, mohair and even Swarovski crystals. They also use wool fringing to create a sculptural effect to their designs, well demonstrated in their designs for Black Swan. They won the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2009 and became the first fashion house to receive a United States Artist grant.
Rodarte: States of Matter runs at the MOCA from 4th March – 5th June 2011. For more information, visit here.