Rodarte pair will design first opera costumes for L.A. Phil


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Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy are slated to design their first opera costumes for the Los Angeles Philharmonic production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” in May, which will be staged by modernist director Christopher Alden.

The pair will join a creative team that includes conductor Gustavo Dudamel and architect Frank Gehry, the latter doing the set design.


The production will be a homecoming for the Los Angeles designers, who started their label in 2005 and have been recognized internationally for their artistic approach to fashion and their handcrafted technique.

“It only took a few seconds to say ‘yes,’” Laura Mulleavy said Tuesday. “My grandmother sang opera, and if she were alive today, this would be her proudest moment.”

Although the sisters didn’t meet Dudamel until after they had signed on, they cited their respect for him as a factor in the quick decision. “He’s a larger-than-life figure in Los Angeles. It’s amazing to see someone so artistic, doing something that you’re not used to seeing, on a billboard here.”

Although still in the beginning stages of the project, the designers said the costumes “won’t be oriented to a period in history but will be more abstract.” In 2010, the Mulleavys designed costumes for the film “Black Swan.” Their work is in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where their “Fra Angelico Collection” is on view through Feb. 5 in the Italian Renaissance gallery, alongside the artworks that inspired it.

Alden, who has done extensive opera and theater work, replaces Paul Curran, who reportedly had to step down from the production due to scheduling issues.

Dudamel will be conducting ‘Don Giovanni’ for the four performances, May 18, 20, 24 and 26, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.


This will be the first of the L.A. Phil’s Mozart trilogy, for which the composer’s operas will be staged with set designs by architects, working with fashion designers. Up first is Gehry, who designed Disney Concert Hall.

‘The Marriage of Figaro’ is set for next year and ‘Così fan tutte’ will be performed in 2014.


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Jeffrey Deitch bringing fashion house Rodarte to MOCA Pacific Design Center

‘Rodarte: Fra Angelico Collection’ on view at LACMA


-- Booth Moore

Kate Mulleavy. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times