For their site-specific event at Pitti Immagine, which took place last night, the Rodarte sisters--Kate and Laura Mulleavy--chose an empty building in central Florence. This served as a space for 10 couture-quality gowns, inspired by Fra Angelico's frescoes in the monks' cells at the Convent of San Marco, as well as Bernini's The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. The tiny rooms--set up like cells--featured strobe lights and classical music such as "Pachelbel's Canon," setting a solemn, intense mood. The Mulleavys worked with longtime collaborator, designer Alexandre de Betak, to build the installation.
The capsule, created in Los Angeles, stands apart from the designers' other collections. "It's completely separate," Laura said at a press preview yesterday morning. "We wanted to include what we love about the city, about the fashion."
The dresses, made of pleated silk georgette, come in powdery pastels and shimmery neutrals. Many are adorned with feathers or gold foil plating, creating a look that's more Old Hollywood than anything the two have done before.
Fittingly, the 10 pieces will be gifted to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where they'll be added to the permanent costume collection.
Last night's exhibition also celebrated the publication of the duo's first book: Rodarte, Catherine Opie, Alec South. The monograph is a lush documentation of the world of Kate and Laura Mulleavy.
**Photos by Autumn de Wilde.