Sisterly Fashion

Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy of the fashion label Rodarte are unqualifiedly successful. They sell their edgy-ethereal frocks at high-end retailers such as Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman; they count Michelle Obama as a fan; they designed the killer ballet costumes for the Oscar-nominated Black Swan; and they currently have an exhibition of their work on display at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Oh yeah, and they still live at home with their parents.

The sisters launched their fashion line in 2005, working at their parents’ dining room table with 10 hand-finished pieces that won them the prestigious Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award and launched them quickly into the world of buyers, fashion shows and Vogue.

Throughout their storybook success, they have remained grounded, and they owe that to their bohemian parents, William and Victoria. William is a former botanist who now runs their accounting. Victoria, whose family emigrated from Mexico, was an artist who made Navajo weavings and taught the sisters to sew. In fact, the label’s name, Rodarte, is named after their mama’s maiden name.

The sisters’ closeness is famous: They share an email account, used to share a cell phone, drive to work together and order the same coffee: three espresso shots over ice.

While their inseparability might seem odd to many, it is their inherent sense of love for family that is their greatest inspiration and that keeps them grounded in the whimsical world of fashion.

by Robyn Moreno