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Rodarte For Black Swan: Must See At The MOCA

Mar 16, 2011 By Vaneza

On top of the extraordinary acting, intense thrilling suspense and stunning vision and direction by Darren Aronofsky, everyone who saw Black Swan was also abuzz with the detail and beauty of the costumes created by California based designers, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. When the costumes from the film went on display, team MyFDB excitedly headed to the MOCA at the Pacific Design Center for the “Rodarte: States of Matter” exhibit to see the work first hand. On display are more than 20 pieces from Rodarte’s Spring 2010, Fall 2010, and Fall 2008 runway collections, and original Black Swan ballet costumes. MOCA said of the garments, “fabrics are often subjected to unusual, sometimes alchemical methods of alteration—dyed, stretched, stained, burned, or otherwise manipulated—before being reassembled as sculptural ready-to-wear.”

Upon entering the first room of the exhibit we greeted by almost complete darkness (can you say eerie?), as we made our way through a walkway where the looks for the Black Swan role were on display. The costumes, drenched in Swarovski, crystals swung around and sparkled as spotlights hit them. We made our way upstairs to the second room where costumes were shadowed by kinetic lights styled by fashion designer and runway producer, Alexandre de Betak. The White collection (which was not in the film, but very well could have been) consisted of longer sheer pieces in creams and whites with lots of stretched and draped sheerness with heavy knitting at the shoulders. The White Swan ballerina costumes were beyond stunning to the eye and in true Rodarte fashion, the attention to detail was fascinating. Corsets made of light blue vinyl (that appeared almost leather like) were hand stitched as feathers, crystals and other beading covered the tutus.

Like the first time I saw Nina (Natalie Portman)’s death in the film, I was filled with anxiety and excitement as her blood stained costume hung almost hauntingly. However, what really drew me in were the blood-like stained gowns which were simple draped pieces of fabric pieced with red and white floral fabric underneath with a lining of red sequins. The gowns managed to be delicately harsh and dramatic all at the same time. It was Rodarte’s intricacy and immediate detail which caught my eye, as the zipper to the gown was lined in red, white, and gold crystals! If there ever was a perfect touch to a gown, that would have had to been it!

The costumes like the film were an experience of distinguished beauty. It was interesting that the display itself told the story of Black Swan- but almost 

backwards- as attendees are greeted by the Black Swan ensembles first. However, as you leave the White Swan on the second floor and come back to the dark room, the story comes full cirle through the eyes of Nina, Rodarte, and the costumes. The exhibit will have you feeling inspired and is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Rodarte “States of Matter” exhibit
MOCA at The Pacific Design Center
Now – June 5
8687 Melrose Avenue #G102
West Hollywood, CA 90060

[images courtesy of MOCA by Autumn de Wilde]

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