Kate & Laura Mulleavy

Fashion Designer

Los Angeles

31 December 1969

Kate & Laura Mulleavy

Kate and Laura Mulleavy are American fashion designers. The Mulleavy sisters are UC Berkeley graduates from Aptos, California, and have received a number of industry awards since the line’s inception in 2005. The sisters have also collaborated with Gap and Target, on limited edition pieces.

Kate Mulleavy was born February 11, 1979 and Laura Mulleavy was born on August 31 1980 in Pasadena, California. Kate and Laura received liberal arts degrees from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001. Kate studied art history with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Laura focused her studies on literature and the Modem novel.

Following graduation from university, both Kate and Laura returned to their home in Pasadena where they launched Rodarte 2005. The name "Rodarte" is of Spanish origin, taken from Kate and Laura’s mothers maiden name. After their initial collection of just 10 pieces, the Mulleavys appeared on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily within days of Kate and Laura’s first trip to New York. Shortly thereafter, in September 2005, Rodarte presents its first complete runway collection to accolades during New York Fashion Week.

In June 2006 CFDA awards and CFDA/Vogue Fund Rodarte was nominated for its first CFDA Swarovski Emerging Womenswear Designer award, followed by another nomination in 2007. In Fall 2006, Rodarte was awarded runner-up in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition. ANDAM In the summer of 2008, Rodarte was selected as a finalist in the ANDAM competition.

Rodarte was awarded the CFDA Swarovski Emerging Womenswear Designer in June 2008. Swiss Textiles Award On November 13, 2008, The Mulleavy sisters won one of fashion’s biggest monetary awards, The Swiss Textiles Award in Zurich Switzerland, worth 100,000 euros. Rodarte beat other fashion designers like Jean-Pierre Braganza, Richard Nicoll and Louise Goldin to the prize. They were the first women to win the award and the first winners from outside Europe. The jury for the prize included New York fashion designer Patricia Field. In a radio interview just after they received their accolade Kate and Laura Mulleavy said their sibling relationship is critical to their work and their success.

Rodarte was then awarded the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in June 2009. A limited edition Rodarte for Target line as a part of GO International was released in stores and online December 20, 2009. United States Artists Fellowship Kate and Laura Mulleavy were one of the 50 recipients to win the 2009 United States Artists Fellowship. Cooper Hewitt National Design Award Rodarte was Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards Fashion Design Finalist in 2009 and winner in 2010. National Art Award Rodarte is the first fashion house to be awarded the National Art Award from Americans for the Arts in 2010. The award is a custom Jeff Koons gold bunny sculpture. Fashion Group International Award Rodarte is awarded the Star Honoree Award from Fashion Group International in 2011.

Rodarte is now stocked globally by more than 40 of the world’s premiere retailers including Barneys NYC, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Beams, Harvey Nichols, Colette, Ikram, Nordstrom, Jeffrey, Dover Street Market, Opening Ceremony,, Net-a-Porter, the Room at Hudson Bay, and Joyce

Museums and exhibitions:

Rodarte is in the permanent collections of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art. Rodarte was featured in the fall 2007 exhibit BLOGMODE at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, as well as several exhibits at The Museum at FIT including Luxury in spring 2007, Gothic: Dark Glamour in fall 2008, and American Beauty: Aesthetics & Innovation in Fashion in spring 2010. Arnhem Fashion Biennale featured Rodarte vignettes in July 2007, 2009 and 2011.

In February 2010 Rodarte had their first solo-exhibition, Quicktake: Rodarte, at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum (the design branch of the Smithsonian Institute) and were the first fashion designers in 20 years to be reviewed in Artforum.

In May 2011, Rodarte contributed artworks to the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts Cell Phone Stories project. Their contribution included sketches based on artworks held in the LACMA’s permanent collection.

In February 2011, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles opened Rodarte: States of Matter, the first West Coast museum exhibition of the Rodarte’s fashion and costume designs from Fall 2008, Spring 2010, Fall 2010 and pieces from Black Swan.

In December 2011, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art acquired the Rodarte Spring 2012 Couture Collection that was first displayed at Pitti Imagine in Florence, Italy. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents the pieces in an exhibition, titled "Rodarte: Fra Angelico Collection", from December 17 to February 5, 2012. Kate and Laura Mulleavy found inspiration in Italian Renaissance art for the collection, specifically High Roman Baroque sculptor Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini’s "The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa," as well as early Renaissance painter Fra Angelico’s frescoes in the monks’ cells at the Convent of San Marco.


Rodarte’s celebrity fanbase includes Cate Blanchett, Keira Knightley, Kirsten Dunst, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart, Emma Watson, Mia Wasikowska, Elle Fanning, Dakota Fanning, Michelle Obama, Reese Witherspoon, Saoirse Ronan, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Bosworth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jennifer Connelly, Beyonce, Rooney Mara, Taylor Swift, Lauryn Hill, Rachel McAdams, Olivia Wilde, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Maggie Cheung, Miranda July, Milla Jovovich, Anne Hathaway, Kanye West, Elijah Wood, Devendra Banhart, Mary-Kate Olsen, Ciara, and Dita von Teese.

At the 81st Academy Awards both Reese Witherspoon and Natalie Portman were dressed in Rodarte. Natalie Portman was also dressed in Rodarte at the 2010 Venice Film Festival and 83rd Academy Awards in 2011. Another celebrity fan and friend, is actress Kirsten Dunst, who accompanied them to the CFDA Awards in 2009 and wore them to the premiere of Melancholia in the 2011 Cannes Film festival.

Musicians Jenny Lewis, Kim Gordon, and Joanna Newsom are often seen wearing their designs and Britney Spears was dressed in Rodarte for the cover of her 2009 album Circus as well as the 2010 cover of Pop magazine.
Special projects:

A limited edition Rodarte for Target line as a part of GO International was released in stores and online December 20, 2009.

For the New York Times Magazine 2010 Winter Olympic portfolio, Rodarte collaborated with Ryan McGinley to create custom designed knitwear for Olympic athletes including: Emily Cook, Rachael Flatt, Anders Johnson, Hannah Kearney, Evan Lysacek, Jeret Peterson, Hannah Teter, Shaun White, Johnny Weir, and Kelly Clark.

In 2010 Rodarte collaborated with director Todd Cole on the short film Aanteni starring Guinevere can Seenus and original score by No Age. Aanteni screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival in January 2011 and was named one of the best fashion films of 2010 by W Magazine. Rodarte again collaborated with director Todd Cole in 2011 on the short film The Curve of Forgotten Things starring Elle Fanning and an original score by Deerhunter. These films were both shown at the 2011 Rotterdam Film Festival. In January 2010, Rodarte was subject of a New Yorker profile, written by Amanda Fortini.

In the Spring of 2010, Rodarte designed the American and International re-release posters for Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. They also designed limited edition t-shirts celebrating the International Herald Tribune Logo and the posters themselves. The collaboration and re-release was celebrated at the American Embassy in Paris.

Rodarte guest edits Lula #11, for the Fall 2010 issue, in which they feature Charlotte Gainsbourg photographed by Nan Goldin on the cover. Their original content includes coverage of Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice, Kirsten Dunst, Nick Cave, Miranda July, David Armstrong, Elle Fanning, S.E. Hinton, and Sophie Calle.

For Spring 2011, Rodarte collaborated on a collection with Opening Ceremony. Ballerina Laura Love and pro skater Alex Olson modeled for the lookbook photographed by Autumn de Wilde. This collection was released world wide in February 2011. Their second collection with Opening Ceremony debuts for Fall 2011 and hits retail outlets in September 2011. The lookbook is again photographed by Autumn de Wilde and features twin models Gwen and Donna Loos.

Gwen and Donna Loos

In the spring of 2011, Rodarte’s work was featured in a cover story for the Italian art publication, Flash Art. Kate and Laura Mulleavy were interviewed by artist Maurizio Cattelan.

On June 16, 2011 Rodarte unveiled a site-specific installation in Florence showcasing ten new couture pieces created exclusively on the occasion of the 8th edition of Pitti W. The collection was then donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to be housed in its permanent collection. Their first monograph, entitled Rodarte Catherine Opie Alec Soth was also launched at Pitti W. Catherine Opie and Alec Soth were commissioned to shoot original content featuring their work and the landscape of California. The book retails for $80.00 and is of a limited edition of 2000 copies.

Nominated for Best Costume Design for the 2011 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, Kate and Laura Mulleavy designed the costumes for both the Swan Lake ballet in Black Swan.

In September 2011, Rodarte guest edits Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope: All-Story Fall 2011/Horror Issue.  In December 2011, Rodarte guest curates A Magazine Curated by, Issue #11. A MAGAZINE curated by Rodarte explores the world of Kate and Laura Mulleavy across 200 pages of photography, art, interviews, and personal contributions. In an ode to the West Coast and the Mulleavy’s singular vision of America, A#11 weaves a vibrant tapestry of natural and built environments, featuring inspiring landscapes and the characters that inhabit those worlds. Highlights include two exclusively commissioned portfolios, featuring Kirsten Dunst in the Rodarte Fall Winter 2011 collection photographed by David Armstrong, and Elle Fanning in the Rodarte ten-piece Spring Summer 2012 Couture collection photographed by Bill Owens. With artistic contributions from contemporary talents such as Jay DeFeo, John Baldessari and Buffy’s Joss Whedon, the pages of A#11 offer vivid imagery that plays not only upon Kate and Laura’s own personal experience, but elements of history and the background of their favorite people and places.

Kirsten Dunst

In July 2010, Rodarte’s collaboration with Make-up Art Cosmetics, inspired by Ciudad Juarez, sparked controversy. Many found the collection names, such as "Factory", "Juarez", and "Ghost Town", insensitive to the rampant crime against women in Ciudad Juarez.  The collection was originally set to be launched in September, but on August 17, MAC announced the cancellation of the collection.

Costume design:

Rodarte designed the ballet costumes for the Het National Ballet which premiered on October 15, 2010 in Amsterdam.
In October 2010, Rodarte collaborated with artist Brody Condon to design the costumes for MOVE! at MoMA PS1.
Rodarte designed the ballet costumes for the New York City Ballet Spring Gala.
Rodarte created opera costumes for Mozart’s Don Giovanni which opened at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Awards and nominations:

2011 Fashion Group International’s Star Honoree Award
2011 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards for Best Costume Design- Nomination
2010 National Art Award from Americans for the Arts
2010 Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards
2009 Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards- Nomination
2009 United States Artists Fellowships Recipien
2009 CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year
2008 CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear
2008 Stella Swiss Textiles Award
2007 CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear – Nomination
2006 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund – Runner Up
2006 CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear – Nomination
2006 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award

Text Courtesy:

Below Rodarte Collection