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RODARTE’S OPERATIC AMBITION

If there’s one thing that can be guaranteed from a Rodarte runway show, it’s drama. From overblown sartorial interpretations of the Australian Outback to frothy Frontier femmes, the work of sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy can never be deemed underdone. In short, Rodarte is sewn for the stage. It seems appropriate, then, that the Los Angeles Philharmonic has got the Mulleavys on board for their latest incarnation of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni.

The Rodarte girls crafted six unique costumes for the piece for protagonists Donna Elvira, Zerlina and Donna Anna. Typical of their aesthetic, the designs are lush and dreamy, with just the right amount of gothic edge. Replete with over one-hundred and thirty thousand Swarovski crystals, the L.A. Philharmonic certainly got a lot of unadulterated bling for their buck.

Of course, this isn’t the first foray into costume design for the multi-talented design duo. In 2010, they lent their hands to Darren Aronofsky’s dance thriller Black Swan.

Rodarte costume sketches for Black Swan (2010).

In conversation with WWD, Kate Mulleavy explained the difficult balance that must be struck when designing for the stage. “Frank [Gehry, set designer] told us from the beginning that it was about the music, and our job was to help that. The costumes are the kind of thing that you want to lift the music- you don’t want to compete or kill it.” That may, indeed, be the case, but we have a sneaking suspicion that a sartorially minded segment of Don Giovanni’s audience won’t be paying much attention to the singing at all.

 

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