For A/W 09, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte once again imposed their fantastical, slightly morbid worldview on an expectant crowd that mixed fashion heavyweights with artists like David Sherry and actors such as Kirsten Dunst and Elijah Wood.
Decay and ideas of what’s left behind clearly fascinate the Mulleavy sisters. The marble-ized leathers and tattered fabrics shot through with silver and green, were laid over each other like beautiful crumbling collages; echoing the deconstructed “building cuts” of architectural artist Gordon Matta Clark and also Frankenstein. Instead of the red-carpet ready Goddess dresses that made for the breathtaking finale of last season, they stuck to a simple, severe silhouette of short dresses and tunics, all toughened up with Nicholas Kirkwood’s bondage thigh high boots, with leather kinkily crisscrossed around it. Set against a futuristic backdrop by Bureau Betak and accompanied by a flickeringly sparse soundtrack, it made for another powerful display of their singular vision, which had an almost punk rock defiance of the recession.
Dazed Digital got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look of one of the standout shows of the A/W 09 season with words from both Kate and Laura and Alex De Betak who produced the show and images by their close friend, Autumn De Wilde.
“This season we were inspired by Gordon Matta Clark's deconstructed homes and Frankenstein. The pieces themselves are patch works of marbled prints. The prints are developed from hand painting, dyeing, and silk screening on everything from leather to silk. Almost every surface is made to look like a piece of stone or rock. The leathers are wrinkled and crumpled so that they are three dimensional and stitched together as constructed monsters.
There are always problems that come up, so it never seems out of the ordinary when we have one. Everything happens so fast before the show. The hair, makeup, music-all seem to come together last minute. The ideas take months to prepare but the final creative moments are always the most important. Everything seems so clear in the moments leading up to the show despite how exhausted everyone is. We are just so happy to have made it through and so overwhelmed by how hard everyone works to make the show happen. We are incredibly lucky to work with the most creative and amazing people. In the end, we don’t get too wrapped up in reviews because we want to focus on our own personal vision.”
Kate and Laura Mulleavy
Alex De Betak is the founder of Bureau De Betak, the premier special events company who in addition to producing elaborate glossy shows for the likes of Victoria’s Secret, Victor and Rolf and Dior have been collaborating with the Mulleavy sisters on their memorable shows for 4 seasons now. He gave Dazed Digital an insight into the concept behind the dramatic sci-fi look of their show at the Gagosian Gallery.
“Last season, we punched a hole in the wall of the Gagosian Gallery. This season was a continuation from last time as we started almost ‘building the house’ up again. This season, the girls’ inspiration was Gordon Matta Clark and this duality between the very rough and very refined. We echoed this by splitting the Gagosian Gallery into two, with half the seats being covered in tin foil. I am also into this idea of recycling and using parts from previous shows. With Rodarte, for example, we’ve used the same 18 fluorescent tubes in each show. We just play with how to use them differently. The next time, we’ll collect the aluminium foil and do something with it. From the beginning, we’re bringing back elements that go with everything we do, to build a story.
I’ve been working with Rodarte for 2 years now. They’re still a very small company, as small as you can get. But they are incredibly well-achieved. It’s amazing working with them, they feed off each other’s energy. I have worked with companies like Galliano and Victor & Rolf but it is very nice and comforting to try and do something on a very small budget that challenges you like I do with Rodarte.“
Alex De Betak
Video courtesy of Black Frame
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