Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fashion as ART: Rodarte - States of Matter at (MOCA) Museum of Contemporary Art

photos by Autumn de Wilde
     I'm a huge fan of Rodarte, if you can't tell already. I think the clothes that Kate and Laura Mulleavy are just simply beautiful. I'm a firm believer in fashion as a form of artistic expression. But then again this is coming from the girl who would much rather invest in shoes as art than paintings and sculptures as a form of home decor. Hey, I think the shoes that Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, and Miu Miu makes is a much better art investment than a painting by Picasso (no offense.) But the point of the matter is, no one can mix art and fashion more beautifully than the Mulleavy sisters. It's even more surprising seeing as both of them had no prior or traditional fashion design training when they launched Rodarte. But who says that you need a diploma to become a fashion designer? Sure it probably helps a great deal and it looks great in a frame while it hangs on the wall, but I think growing up in an artistic environment is more influential than any formal training -- which is exactly the case with Kate and Laura. 

     On March 4, 2011 the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in West Hollywood, California showcased the work of the Rodarte from the movie Black Swan. Too bad it was only a one-night event and that I don't live in Los Angeles. I would've loved to have seen it. But thanks to the power of the Internet, the museum posted photographs of the exhibit which was taken by a photographer named Autumn de Wilde. These photographs, along with the description of the event, was released on MOCA's website. Their description of the event described the exhibit perfectly so I didn't want to edit and rephrase it. You can read what MOCA had to say about the exhibit and enjoy these beautiful photographs from the event. 

Exhibit Review written by

     The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) presents Rodarte: States of Matter, the first West Coast solo exhibition of the work of fashion and costume designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. Renowned for its expressive use of textiles, Rodarte creates unusual works through a highly elaborate and intensive processing and reconstruction of materials. Fabrics are often subjected to unusual, sometimes alchemical methods of alteration—dyed, stretched, stained, burned, or otherwise manipulated—before being reassembled as sculptural ready-to-wear. Materials are woven, knitted, or layered together as assemblages of plaid scraps, vinyl, cheesecloth, wool, cobweb, Swarovski crystals, macramé, leather, and more. Rodarte’s designs are inspired by sources uncommonly approached in fashion design—its Spring 2010 collection was based, in part, on the California condor. Other idiosyncratic influences include local landscapes, Japanese horror films, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, and the work of Gordon Matta Clark.

“We are very excited that MOCA will present the first museum exhibition of our work in Los Angeles,” said Kate Mulleavy. “The exhibition will explore the transitional states of garments and examine them as vessels without bodies,” said Laura Mulleavy.
“By removing the garments from the figure and creating an installation around them, the focus will be entirely on the dresses and tutus as singular sculptural objects rather than pieces that are reliant on their relationship to the human form,” said Associate Curator Rebecca Morse. “Their inherent narrative qualities will be revealed.”

     The exhibition will feature more than 20 pieces from Rodarte’s Spring 2010, Fall 2010, and Fall 2008 runway collections, and original ballet costumes designed by Rodarte for the feature film Black Swan. The selected works are largely achromatic, dominated by black-and-white motifs with occasional red accents, and will be installed in a series of interrelated vignettes, both static and in motion, displayed off-figure and portrayed as charged sculptural objects. The installation will present inanimate objects in a state of flux, or animation, signifying the temporary states that material can assume. Acclaimed environmental fashion designer and runway producer Alexandre de Betak, founder of Bureau Betak and a longtime collaborator of the Mulleavys, will contribute a dynamic exhibition design, including kinetic displays, dramatic lighting, and other theatrical elements.

“Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s work transcends traditional fashion concepts and redefines the purpose of garment design,” said MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch. “MOCA is pleased to present Rodarte’s work in an artistic context as we continue our commitment to sharing the talents of emerging artists for whom Los Angeles is a vital muse.”

from left to right: Laura Mulleavy and Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte

Love, KB

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