A Look At The Rodarte Exhibit At The National Museum Of Women In The Arts

Photo: Floto+Warner/NWMA.
Even if brick & mortar are on the decline, interest in fashion has not waned one bit. In fact, curiosity for clothes is at such a high that even if we can't buy it, we'll still show up to gawk. In recent years, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has seen its highest numbers — ever — and they're not slowing down. It makes sense, then, that even smaller exhibits focused on certain designers, like the Rodarte exhibition at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., are just as captivating and hold the potential to draw similarly endless lines.
When Rodarte burst on the scene — first, on the cover of WWD, and secondly, as a runner-up in the 2006 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund — Californian designer sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy made a profound impact on the industry. Their backgrounds in art history and literature may not have lent them the technical skills expected of conceptual designers, but their demi-couture style of designing and construction prove that none of that has ever mattered. They've since won dozens of awards, designed the costumes for Black Swan (which are featured in the show), made their own film, moved their runway shows to Paris, and so much more.
The show, which will "explore the distinctive design principles, material concerns, and recurring themes that position the Mulleavys' work within the landscape of contemporary art and fashion," will span the first 13 years of the American label. That means 90 complete looks, presented as they were shown on the runway, from their most pivotal and headline-making collections (yes, including that Star Wars-themed show) . Oh, and there's going to be a selection of Mulleavy-designed objects in the NWMA's museum shop available for purchase, too, so you can get your hands on a piece of the magic. No word on the prices of those just yet, but we suggest you save your pennies just in case.
Of the show itself, Jill D'Allessandro, guest Rodarte curator and curator of costume and textile arts of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, said "The exhibition celebrates the Mulleavys’ pioneering approach and explores their use of narrative to convey complex thoughts on a wide range of subjects, including film, literature, art history, nature and the California landscape." Pioneers, indeed. In the slideshow ahead, take a peak at the Rodarte exhibition on display from November 10, 2018 to February 10, 2019. We promise it's worth the trek.

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