Rodarte: Fra Angelico Collection

Ahmanson Building, Level 3
December 17, 2011–February 5, 2012

RODARTE: Fra Angelico Collection, presented in the museum's Italian Renaissance gallery, features a group of extraordinary gowns by Kate and Laura Mulleavy. The collection is inspired by Italian art, specifically the Renaissance frescoes in the monastery of San Marco by Fra Angelico in Florence, Italy, as well as the Baroque sculpture, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) in Rome. Rodarte’s signature dressmaking techniques and sculptural details can be seen in each of the gowns. Silk fabrics (including chiffon, georgette, lamé, organza, satin, taffeta, and tulle) are draped and manipulated to give form, texture, and tonal variety to the color palette inspired by the frescoes. The gowns are customized utilizing a variety of materials such as feathers, SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS, sequins, and custom-made silk flowers. Hand-forged gold metallic accessories such as a headpiece, breastplate, and belts dramatically complete the look of several key gowns.

The Fra Angelico collection will enter LACMA’s Costume and Textiles Department, which houses over twenty-five thousand objects, representing more than one hundred cultures and two thousand years of human creativity in the textile arts.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy received their bachelor’s degrees in liberal arts from UC Berkeley in 2001. Following their graduations, they returned to Los Angeles and launched Rodarte in 2005. Since then, Kate and Laura have won numerous awards and accolades, including the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2009, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion, and the 2010 National Arts Award from Americans for the Arts. Earlier this year, Rodarte’s first west coast exhibition, Rodarte: States of Matter, was on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Rodarte’s works are featured in the permanent collections of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Museum at FIT in New York City.

Promised gift of Rodarte (Kate and Laura Mulleavy), Maria Arena Bell, Susan Casden, Eva Chow, DNA Boutique, Allison Sarofim, Karyn Silver, Christine Suppes, Lizzie Tisch, Dasha Zhukova and an Anonymous Donor.

Image: Lime Silk Georgette and Crinkle Silk Chiffon Pleated Gown with hand molded Easter Lilies, Feather, and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS.

Rodarte Collection On View

Earlier this year fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, aka Rodarte, debuted their “Fra Angelico Collection” in Florence, and soon after announced that they would giving the entire collection to LACMA as a promised gift. On Saturday, you can see these amazing gowns in a unique installation inside our Italian Renaissance galleries. The collection was inspired by paintings from this period, and the installation (on view through February 5) offers interesting resonances with the surrounding paintings...