Rodarte Collection: Cooper-Hewitt Exhibition (Plus 10 More Fashion Exhibits to Watch For)


Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind the provocative and conceptual label Rodarte, are no strangers to awards and accolades. Since bursting onto the style scene a mere five years ago, the California natives have received the CFDA Swarovski Emerging Womenswear Designer Award in June 2008, the Swiss Textiles Award in November 2008, and the 2009 CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award, and were named a fashion design finalist in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards.

The curators at New York City’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the only museum in the nation devoted to showcasing historic and contemporary designs, were so impressed with the Mulleavy sisters’ visionary approach to fashion that they have organized an exhibition, “Quicktake: Rodarte” –quite an honor, considering most designer-centric exhibits are retrospectives, typically shown after a designer retires or dies. According to the Cooper-Hewitt website, the installation, on view February 11, 2010- March 14, 2010, “offers a glimpse into the Mulleavys’ unique process and inspiration at an important point in their career.” Rodarteis the second subject in a series of “Quicktake” installations “aimed at showing the public vital up-and-coming design from around the world.”

The Mulleavys’ creations, which have referenced a myriad of themes, including Frankenstein and Japanese horror films, have been described by the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology as being “a seamless marriage of innovation and aesthetics.” The duo, who are masters at manipulating both delicate and hard materials in their garments, have delivered collections evocative of the haute couture in both their structure, artistic value, and cost. Collections that, in recent years, have been accused of being art disguised as fashion: beautiful yet unwearable. One might even say museum-worthy.

The cost of admission is a scant $15–a steal, considering the $8,000+ price tag of a Rodarte original!

Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 2 E. 91st St. at Fifth Ave. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, 12- 6 p.m. Feb. 11-Mar. 14.

And if that’s not enough to satisfy your Rodarte craving, check out the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology — both institutions include Rodarte as part of their permanent collections. The designers will also be appearing at the Fashion Institute of Technology on May 4, as part of the “Fashion Conversations” series with head curator Valerie Steele.

10 More Fashion Exhibits to Watch For:

New York:

Scandal Sandals and Lady Slippers: A History of Delman Shoes, March 9- April 3, 2010, The Museum at FIT.

American Beauty: Aesthetics and Innovation in Fashion, until April 10, 2010, The Museum at FIT.

Night and Day, until May 11, 2010, The Museum at FIT.

American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, May 5- August 15, 2010, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection, May 7- August 1, 2010, Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Los Angeles:

Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail 1700-1915, September 26, 2010- April 3, 2011, LACMA.

Hollywood 2010: The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design, February 9- April 17, 2010, FIDM.


History of Contemporary Fashion, Vol. 1: 70s- 80s, April 1- October 10, 2010, Les Arts Decoratifs– Mode et Textile.


Photographing Fashion: British Style in the 1960s, March 27- December 2010, The Fashion Museum.

Grace Kelly: Style Icon, April 17- September 26, 2010, V&A.

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