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September 3 2014

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Rodarte On Film

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Rodarte and Elle Fanning

Since 2010, Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy have thrice teamed with director Todd Cole to bring their collections to life. In doing so, they’ve proved a deft hand at storytelling—so deft, in fact, that their most recent film, This Must Be the Only Fantasy, which starred Elijah Wood, Sidney Williams, and Guinevere Van Seenus, was included in the Shorts Selection at this year’s American Film Institute Festival.

Last night at L.A.’s Hammer Museum, Vanity Fair West Coast editor Krista Smith led a discussion with the trio about their collaborations. “We were at the forefront of making these films in fashion,” Cole said. “And you can feel a narrative about where the clothes come from.”

Their first project was Aanteni—ancient Mayan for “a scream for help.” The short starred Guinevere Van Seenus as she ran through the industrial wasteland of downtown L.A. The Aptos, Calif.-born designers explained that a sense of place—particularly their home state—has always been a key component in their creative process. “I think that when we work, everything [goes] back to what we see and what we grew up seeing,” offered Laura. “Our process of working is about driving and seeing things and then having an idea two days later.”

While Southern California’s aeronautical engineering—a point of fascination for the designers—provided inspiration for Aanteni, an oversized brick house in Baldwin Hills influenced the Wild West element of their second film, The Curve of Forgotten Things, which featured a captivating Elle Fanning. Finally, This Must Be the Only Fantasy explored L.A.’s suburbia.

Although each film begins with a given collection, the team stressed that they’re more about the visual world that informs each season. “We wouldn’t even care if none of our clothes were in it,” said Laura. “The clothing is a brief, basically,” added Cole. “They’re such specific pieces that they call for really particular worlds. Then you pick the world, and it’s easy to tell the story.”

Photo: Aleks Kocev /BFAnyc.com

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Dept. of Culture