Rodarte Co-Designer Talks Alfred Hitchcock's Influence on Label at Frieze L.A.

Courtesy of MatchesFashion/Photo by Chris Copeland
Laura Mulleavy, co-designer of Los Angeles-based fashion label Rodarte

"Because we responded so much to the visual styling of film, fashion just became a part of what Los Angeles is to us. When you see incredible costumes in a film, it’s a very powerful thing that you never get out of your head,” Laura Mulleavy said at the inaugural edition of the art fair.

Laura Mulleavy (one half of the sister design duo behind the Rodarte fashion label), celebrity stylist Cher Coulter and actress Bel Powley (whom Coulter styles) gathered Sunday at MatchesFashion’s 5 Carlos Place pop-up at Frieze L.A. for a conversation on the intersection of Hollywood and fashion.

Being a part of the famous art fair’s inaugural West Coast debut on the Paramount lot was important to Mulleavy, who told The Hollywood Reporter that the Los Angeles art community has consistently supported the brand and that the fair “feels like a community celebration.”

Mulleavy spoke to how film has always inspired her, since growing up in the small town of Aptos, California, eight miles from Santa Cruz, where The Lost Boys was filmed in 1987. “It was a very cool surf-skate scene,” she said. “I saw my first mohawk when I was 5 years old at the movie theater seeing Moonstruck or something.”

“My mom introduced me to cinema when I was young and we watched a lot of older films,” Mulleavy continued. “Hitchcock was a big part of my understanding of fashion design and Hollywood. Vertigo was shot at places I used to go to and I know the areas in San Francisco where The Birds [was shot]. It’s the same thing in L.A. The street corner in Pasadena is Michael Myers' house [from Halloween]. You know the city through these locations in cinema. Because we responded so much to the visual styling of film, fashion just became a part of what Los Angeles is to us. When you see incredible costumes in a film, it’s a very powerful thing that you never get out of your head.”

Mulleavy (who now shares a home in Pasadena with her co-designing sister Kate) went on to say that L.A. has even “rivaled New York and rivaled Paris” for her in terms of being a fashion capital. The Mulleavy sisters showed Rodarte’s fall 2019 collection (inspired by the 1979 film All That Jazz and other musical films from the ‘30s to the ‘70s) at the Huntington Library earlier this month, their first presentation in Los Angeles. And Mulleavy referenced the 1977 film 3 Women as inspiration for Rodarte’s spring 2018 collection. The sisters also directed their own film, Woodshockin 2017, starring their friend Kirsten Dunst.

While they once considered a move to New York, it was Vogue editor Anna Wintour who encouraged the duo to stay in L.A., saying that “it’s very personal to what you make.”

“Overall, I think there’s always been a strong fashion community in Los Angeles; it’s just been through a different lens,” Mulleavy told THR. “We have [James] Galanos and Rudi Gernreich and Bob Mackie, and then you have the history of Hollywood costume design, which is so profound on fashion in general. I always looked to film as something that really affected my view of design and my aesthetic.”