RODARTE ON CREATIVITY

AN INVITATION TO DIVE INTO THE HEART OF AN ECLECTIC ARTISTIC UNIVERSE, NOURISHED BY A MULTITUDE OF RICH AND PARADOXICAL ALLUSIONS. FROM THE INNOCENCE OF CHILDHOOD TO THE SINGULAR AESTHETIC OF HORROR FILMS, KATE AND LAURA MULLEAVY CAREFULLY SELECTED A FEW ITEMS FROM THEIR WORLD AND THAT OF RODARTE WHEN THEY MET LAST AUTUMN FOR AN EXHIBITION AT THE COLETTE BOUTIQUE. TOUCHING ON MUSIC, BOOKS, AND WORKS OF ART, THE PAIR PROVIDED A CRASH COURSE IN A VERITABLE LANGUAGE THAT BELONGS ONLY TO THEM, TAKING ITS ORIGINS IN THEIR FASHION DESIGN.

WHY DID YOU FEEL THE NEED TO ORGANIZE THIS EXHIBITION?

We wanted to open a little boutique, and immediately we had the idea of unveiling a sliver of our own world for the occasion: the movies, music, and books that we love… A whole range of things that the public would see if they peeked into our studio. Our friends also contributed a lot to the exhibition, because we also want to give a venue who to those who are close to us; so it was organized in a very simple and natural way. It was truly an invitation to enter the world we share every day, which blends fashion and art.

YOU APPEAR VERY CLOSE TO THE ART WORLD; DID EITHER OF YOU STUDY ART?

We both graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in Liberal Arts in 2001; Kate then studied art history and focused primarily on the 19th and 20th centuries, while Laura explored literature.

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE ARTISTS WHOSE WORK WOULD APPEAR IN THE COLETTE GALLERY?

The pieces that we chose were all made by people we admire, and with whom we’re most often associated. For example, we wanted to display Eliott Hundley’s work, because once you delve into his creative universe, you realize that he’s one of the most amazing artists around. He speaks a language that we understand perfectly, where everything is extremely precise and detailed; for this reason it was really important for us that he be featured in the exhibition. And he’s one of our friends. That’s also how Mari Eastman, Kim Gordon, Alexandra Grant, Karen Kilimnik, Ari Marcopoulous, Raymond Pettibon, and a lot of others were invited to help build the universe we envisioned.

A FEELING OF CHILDHOOD, OF REJUVENATION, A VAST ARRAY OF EXPRESSIONS, ARE THESE SOME OF THE PRIMARY INSPIRATIONS FOR YOUR DESIGNS IN FASHION?

Indeed, that sums up in a way the mindset in which we began and have always worked since: constantly trying to create worlds… It’s undoubtedly an extension of our childhoods. We didn’t grow up in a city center, but in a small town on the ocean’s edge in California. We were brought up in a peculiar environment that strongly influenced our designs. More than a dialogue, a full- fledged language sprung up between us. We take our two main sources of inspiration from film and art, both of which give us a lot of common visual references by which we understand the world around us. We don’t need to finish our sentences to understand each other.

YOU’RE STILL BASED IN CALIFORNIA; HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED MOVING TO NEW YORK?

We would do anything for our company, because it represents a lot for us; however, we haven’t yet had to make that kind of decision. Our environment exercises a significant influence on our work. Everything we do corresponds to something we’ve seen here, a place that we explored when younger or more recently. We endlessly rediscover these locations, and negotiate our current vision with our previous perspectives – that’s why our idea for The Valley changed so much, we didn’t find the same things there as when we were children. This wild nature with such diversity… California is like a bizarre, primitive creature, and it’s fascinating.

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE CURRENT STATE OF ART IN THE UNITED STATES? DO YOU SEE A NEW SCENE TAKING SHAPE HERE?

Things are happening, certainly, and that’s very important for us, because artists need to be able to express themselves and people need to believe in their work, even if it seems like an impossible task sometimes. The presence of any sort of energy is vital, and it doesn’t matter if the public approves or not; the dynamic at stake is what’s most important. There’s also room in our country for everyone to make his or her self as they please. At the outset, we knew very little about fashion… We wanted to make clothes, but we hadn’t received any formal education or training. The example of creators without experience who manage to get by despite that fact offers a lot of hope. We’re thinking, for example, of young horror film directors, who sometimes show so much talent…

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HORROR FILM?

If we really had to choose one over the rest, it would be Halloween, because it’s the first one we saw together; the soundtrack took us to another world, and we literally plunged into the images. Watching it, we understood how much horror films could be beautiful, because they have to make sure that the visual and audio dimensions mesh perfectly together, so that they can elicit strong sensations. Works like that show an incredible precision.

WHEN PLANNING YOUR LATEST COLLECTIONS, WHAT THEMES DID YOU CONCENTRATE ON?

The image of the spider web illustrates well the concept of our latest collections: they form a whole of exceptional quality, but all you have to do is pass through the threads to destroy the entire structure. It juxtaposes fabrics with changing textures that play into a process of construction and deconstruction. We thought of the items as a progression, at once embracing the idea of destruction and the idea of extraordinary power, in order to engender a creature that’s paradoxically primitive and modern.

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