Purple Fashion — Rodarte

[October 8 2018] : Magazine

laura and kate mulleavy

los angeles
laura and kate mulleavy

interview and photography by OLIVIER ZAHM
family pictures courtesy of RODARTE

Two California sisters, Laura and Kate Mulleavy, put Los Angeles on the fashion map in 2005 when they created the Rodarte label. They won instant international recognition for their dark, feminist, deconstructed clothing, influenced by science-fiction, anime, and horror films, as well as by a DIY anti-conformism. What wasn’t evident in their style, they made visible in Woodshock, their 2017 film starring Kirsten Dunst, which was partly shot in a redwood forest. The film reveals the deep psychological influence of California’s natural landscape on their style.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Are you guys from Los Angeles?
LAURA MULLEAVY — Our parents are from Los Angeles; both grew up in LA. My dad’s family is fifth generation from Sierra Madre, which is a small mountain town in Los Angeles. But my sister and I grew up in Northern California, in Santa Cruz. Our parents were both going to Humboldt State University — which is the area where we shot our movie — and then my dad got his doctorate from Berkeley. When we got older, we came to LA.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Your movie, Woodshock, has incredible forests, mountains, lakes — is that where you grew up?
KATE MULLEAVY — We grew up in redwood country… near Big Sur. Where we shot them, farther up, in Humboldt [County, California], they’re some of the largest living organisms on the planet. They’re huge. The ones in Big Sur, which people are more familiar with, are tiny compared to those in Humboldt. It’s an out-of-body experience to see these trees. I always tell people what a soulful experience it is to see them. It’s like what astronauts say about going into space and realizing how small they are in the grander scheme. People have introspective moments in the presence of these trees because they’re thousands of years old, and they only exist on a small strip of land in California, and nowhere else in the world.

OLIVIER ZAHM — What did your parents do?
KATE MULLEAVY — Our dad’s a botanist. He’s a mushroom expert… He worked on every kind of mushroom. He studied small ones, slime molds, fungi. The ones that are dangerous. You know, between hallucinogenic, edible, and...

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