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Rodarte’s Mulleavy Sisters Join The Opera

The Mulleavy Sisters and Frank Gehry

No stranger to high-culture, Rodarte’s Mulleavy Sisters have worked with art musuems LACMA (Fra Angelico Collection) and their solo exhibition States of Matter at MOCA, but now they’ve taken it one step even more high-brow by pairing up with famed conductor Gustavo Dudamel and legendary artist Frank Gehry on the L.A. Philharmonic production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Rodarte for Don Giovanni

We were recently invited to a pre-view of the shows short, four-performance run where we saw the splendor of the Mulleavy‘s costume designs which included two beaded gowns for the female leads, using such opulent materials and silk, sequins, intricate hand embroidery and a strategic use of color vs. gray and white — all to great dramatic effect. The gals used denim for the men in a combination straitjacket armor, with hand-painted, marbled chest plates, inspired by the chess pieces in Don Giovanni‘s world.

The Mulleavys’ spoke of their operatic costume debut and how it differed from their typical process in designing for their own runways, “You are working with material that is so classic that everyone knows it, so you’re starting from a ground point that’s already decided for you,” Laura Mulleavy said of the project, adding that the process evolved greatly over the course of a year in collaborating with such art world heavy-weights. “When you’re designing for characters, you really have to become a costume designer. You’re not the sole decider and you’re not a fashion designer in that situation.”

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