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April 21 2014

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Rodarte’s Night At The Museum

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It’s a Black Swan kind of week in L.A., as Natalie Portman looks likely to clinch the Oscar on Sunday. So what better time for her pals at Rodarte, Laura and Kate Mulleavy, to debut their first solo exhibition—of their Black Swan designs, no less? L.A. MOCA’s Jeffrey Deitch snagged the sisters’ designs for Rodarte: States of Matter, which opens March 4 at the museum. The tightly edited collection of Swarovski crystal-dusted costumes and other sculptural designs was brought to life by the duo’s longtime collaborator, French producer Alexandre de Betak, who also works on their runway shows. “We wanted to express the duality of dark and light,” de Betak explained at a preview of the exhibition last night, referencing the strict color theme and extreme lighting design. “It’s in the different textures they use and it was important to express that in the way we brought it all together—the fluorescent and then the moody lighting, the beautiful white costumes and the drama of the dark.”

Hot on the heels of their Fall ’11 show, the critical darlings attracted an impressive showing considering Oscar week’s tight social calendar. In town for Barry Diller’s pre-Oscar luncheon, CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg stopped in to congratulate the sisters and spent time with André Balazs, while guests like China Chow, Liz Goldwyn, and Audrey Marnay milled. Even crosstown rival LACMA’s Michael Govan arrived with his wife, Balenciaga’s Katherine Ross, in Rodarte for the occasion.

Of their first solo exhibition, Kate Mulleavy felt they’d found the perfect home. “It’s so amazing because MOCA is such a special cultural place in Los Angeles and even globally now. Having grown up here, it’s such an honor. We’ve never really done anything like this before in Los Angeles.” And it appears collaborating with de Betak was key. “It makes it even more special to do it with Alex. He’s such an incredible artist and what he does allows us to build these worlds. The fact that he took a chance on us even though we’re still relatively younger and independent is amazing, and being able to continue to work together so many seasons is special.”

Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

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