Rodarte Fetes New Capsule Line at '80s Roller Disco Party

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Rodarte designers Laura Mulleavy (left) and Kate Mulleavy flank artist Mari Eastman

Rachel Bilson, Nikki Reed turned up at Milk Studios in Hollywood for a runway show on wheels and a performance by Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles to launch the new Fred Segal exclusive.

There was some serious #tbt happening at Milk Studios in Hollywood on Thursday night. Los Angeles' favorite fashion designer sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, threw it back to the 1980s to celebrate a limited-edition, five-piece capsule line of T-shirts and sweatshirts from their lower-priced Radarte label. Decorated with work by their friend, L.A. artist Mari Eastman, the line ($150-$280) will be sold exclusively at the Fred Segal flagship on Sunset Boulevard from Friday until Aug. 14.

The party was thrown in partnership with Mastercard and the collaboration platform MADE (under the Endeavor umbrella) that put the project together. Among the crowd of 300 guests were actresses Rachel Bilson, Nikki Reed, Skai Jackson, Ireland Baldwin and Rowan Blanchard and Hollywood stylists such as Jessica Paster, Nicole Schneider, Petra Flannery, Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald.

To showcase the new line, models skated out in roller disco-style wearing the pieces (pulled together in fine '80s form with striped tube socks, neon fanny packs, satin short-shorts and vibrantly printed vintage finds by star stylist Shirley Kurata). The fashion show-on-wheels was followed by a live performance by Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles, who sang '80s hits such as “Walk Like An Egyptian” and “Manic Monday.”

“Number one, we love '80s new wave music and we love The Bangles,” Laura Mulleavy told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was probably one of our first tapes that we both had. And Susanna actually went to UC Berkeley [where the Mulleavy sisters went to college]. So when we talked about having an '80s event, it was a dream to have her perform and it just worked out. Her voice is breathtaking!”

In the throwback spirit, a mini arcade featured complimentary Donkey Kong and Pac-Man machines, as well as a claw prize grabber that awarded Koosh balls, Rubik’s cubes, heart-shaped sunglasses, terry sweatbands, scrunchies and more. On the beverage menu were passed neon Jello shots, accompanied by cotton candy, mini corn dogs, mac and cheese tarts and popcorn topped with sriracha and honey.

An on-site boutique, decorated in pastels like a teenage dream of a bedroom complete with with E.T. and Def Leppard posters on the wall, offered pieces of the collection for purchase; a similarly decorated shop-in-shop is set up at Fred Segal.

“The store version would be like that TV show I watched when I was young, Today’s Special!” said Mulleavy. “Remember, they had that mannequin that came alive at night at the mall? In my childhood bedroom, I wasn’t quite into the pastels — I loved red and white, so it had red and white heart wallpaper and all red and white furniture — but I did have that same version of the little tape cassette player. And obviously covering your wall in posters was a very important rite of passage.”

Walking up to join the conversation, her sister Kate added: “You know what I loved when I was younger? The Outsiders movie!”

In terms of the process of choosing the art (a cat, a kitten and butterflies from 2014 and 2018 work by Eastman), Laura Mulleavy explained: “We got to go through Mari’s art, and all of it was based on things we were drawn to and what graphically worked. We were really inspired by her paintings of animals. When we were young, we had a long-haired cat that reminds us of the cat on the yellow T-shirt; his name was Merlin. Mari is very ethereal in her paintings, so I feel like it matches the way we look at animals, too, as subjects. The mindset is similar.”

In the on-site shop, Mastercard highlighted technology in which tags can be scanned with a cellphone camera to reveal details about the fabric, where the garment was produced (made in L.A.) and the story behind the collaboration. The technology will be available at Fred Segal for this collaboration and two others to come later this year in conjunction with Mastercard.

“It’s about knowing and tracking the provenance of a garment when you are purchasing,” said Fred Segal president John Frierson. “As always, we like to partner directly with designers and creators like Rodarte to bring their ideas to life at Fred Segal. We worked with Rodarte last year and we love their free-ranging creative spirit!”

Laura Mulleavy emphasized how limited distribution has more relevance than ever in the digital era, and this partnership is only the second time that the brand has teamed up with a specific store, following a 2009 capsule line for the now-shuttered boutique Colette in Paris. “It’s nice to do things that are specific to retail partners, because everything’s online now, and to have something special that’s a limited edition,” she said.