Rodarte Exhibit Kate Mulleavy Sketch, 2011. Gift of Rodarte
A show of Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s work will be the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ first solo fashion exhibition.
Rodarte will be the subject of an exhibition next year at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Opening in fall 2018, the exhibition will be the finale to the museum’s 30th anniversary celebrations and the first fashion exhibition it has organized.
The show has yet to be conceptualized but Susan Fisher Sterling, director at NMWA, said Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy were chosen because “they work a lot like artists in the sense that they’re almost artisanal in the way they produce their work; they somewhat go against the grain of having a really huge schedule of shows. They tend to take time with their collections and they live in L.A. and have an interesting relationship with film and the art scene.”
What do Renaissance frescoes have in common with Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy? Plenty, actually. Inspired by the masterpieces found in the monastery of San Marco by Fra Angelico in Florence, the designers created a small collection of gowns to pay homage to their love of art history, which are now on display in Los Angeles at LACMA.
Curator Sharon Takeda believes that their previous study of art history has contributed to their success in fashion: “This kind of background grounds them and gives them a base for their inspiration. They continue to be affected by imagery and photography and are great admirers of contemporary art. I think that kind of background might help them stand apart, as they didn’t take the standard root of going to fashion school. In some ways, that different path might be an asset in helping them find their creative voice.”
Takeda was excited to have the opportunity to include their work amongst the museum’s existing collection: “It truly fits within the context of our Italian Renaissance gallery. Even though there isn’t a Fra Angelico piece in the gallery, the paintings in that gallery are all of the colors of Rodarte’s gowns.” The pieces, which are light tangerine, orange, pink, gold, aqua and lime, are consistent with the designer’s signature aesthetic: unusual use of mixed materials for an undone, feminine look.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is planning a Rodarte fashion exhibit — their first focusing on fashion, Women’s Wear Daily reports. The luxury brand, known for their ethereal-punk look, was chosen for their unorthodox approach to clothesmaking. “They work a lot like artists in the sense that they’re almost artisanal in the way they produce their work; they somewhat go against the grain of having a really huge schedule of shows,” Director of NMWA, Susan Fisher Sterling, told WWD. The exhibition, opening in the Fall of 2018, will serve as the grand finale to the museum’s 30th anniversary celebration.