States of Independence
Dazed's ultimate guide to US creativity

States Pop Quiz #24: Rodarte

The Mulleavy duo wax lyrical on the American icons closest to their hearts – from Lou Reed and John Cage to the fictional Star Wars robots they identify with

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Portrait by Todd Cole

As part of our new summer US project States of Independence, we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to take over Dazed for a day. Today, as part of our State of Fashion week, Kate and Laura – the designers behind Rodarte – tell us their childhood obsessions, do Q&As with their favourite models and take over the Dazed Instagram.

For the States of Independence summer takeover, 50 American indie icons have volunteered to take the Dazed Pop Quiz; a quick-fire Q&A about what they love and loathe about life in the USA. Check back here every day for more from the series. 

Kate and Laura Mulleavy were Santa Cruz-raised but made in the New York fashion scene. Making their move to the opposite coast in the spring of 2005, the story of their rise to prominence is as much out of a fairytale as their signature romantic dresses; within a week, their collection was on New York's radar. Called Rodarte after their mother's maiden name, Kate and Laura keep it in the family much like the old-world couturists that surely inspire their meticulous techniques – and yet, always with that downtown attitude and reference-laden pop culture flair that keeps the fashion world coming back for more. We loved the 70s geek quirk of their AW14 collection, and can't wait to see what's next; in the meantime, we tapped the Mulleavys for a Proustian Pop Quiz takeover to see where their inspiration stems.

Who gave you your first break? 

Kate and Laura: Anna Wintour.

23-anna-wintour.w560.h312.2x new york magazine
nymag.com

When + where you the most happiest? 

Kate and Laura: At a Tom Petty concert.

What high school clique were you in? 

Kate and Laura: We hung out with the art kids.

What food reminds you of home?

Kate and Laura: Our mom’s homemade tamales. 

What smell do you associate with the city of your birth?

Kate and Laura: The ocean and wildflowers.

Ultimate American film?

Kate: The Last Picture Show.

Laura: Two Lane Black Top.

What's the best road trip you've ever been on? 

Kate: Driving up the California coast.

Laura: Driving from Nashville to New Orleans.

Where did you first fall in love?

Kate: Los Angeles, CA.

Laura: Berkeley, CA.

What noise reminds you of the States?

Kate and Laura: The sound of a trunk driving along a deserted road.

What is your favorite natural American Landscape?

Laura: Death Valley.

Kate: Big Sur.

Favorite American Building:

Kate and Laura: Does the Golden Gate Bridge count?

Ultimate American album?

Kate and Laura: Anything by John Cage, Lou Reed, or Jimi Hendrix. 

Most underrated US tourist attraction?

Laura: Niagara Falls.

Kate: Drive-in movie theaters. 

Favorite slang phrase?

Kate and Laura: Rad.

What is your ultimate American guilty pleasure?

Kate and Laura: Sitting by the pool on a Sunday.

Which fictional American character do you most identify with? 

Laura: R2-D2.

Kate: C-3PO.

c3po-r2d2
newnownext.com

Does the American Dream still exist?

Kate and Laura: Yes!

What is your favorite quote about America?

Kate and Laura: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" – Neil Armstrong.

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