You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rodarte feathers ‘Swan’ tutus

Ties with Portman drew couture team into movies

Sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy have produced 12 hit collections since launching Rodarte in 2005, and their gowns have been worn by actresses such as Keira Knightley, Kirsten Dunst, Tilda Swinton and Reese Witherspoon on numerous red carpets.

It was their longtime relationship with Natalie Portman that led Darren Aronofsky to hire Laura and Kate to create the Swan Queen and Black Swan ballet costumes Portman wears in the onscreen performances in “Black Swan.” (Amy Westcott was the film’s costume designer.)

“Their clothes and collection around the time (we were prepping) were very balletic like — a lot of tulle and invisible lace,” Portman says. “(Laura and Kate) are also huge horror movie fans — real horror movie connoisseurs. The two components, to me, made the perfect pairing.”

For the sisters, their first foray into film was like “a dream.”

“This was the first time that we were creatively involved with someone else’s vision,” Laura says. “It was a totally different process for us.”

While they based their Fall 2008 collection on ballerinas and Japanese horror films, the duo endured an “intense research period” before constructing any of the film’s ensembles last winter.

“The movie captures this idea that ballet has a projection of beauty while the internal side of it is very brutal, which we wanted to play out in the clothes,” Laura says.

Based out of Los Angeles, Rodarte (their mother’s maiden name) is stocked globally while their designs have graced the cover of more than 20 international publications. Recently Laura (30) and Kate (31) became the first fashion designers to be honored with a National Art Award from Americans for the Arts.

“The girls themselves are artists, and they know everything about everything — from science to film to ecology to art,” Portman says. “Their perpetual curiosity translates into really unique clothes.”

The sisters meticulously labor over every design, which in the case of “Black Swan” meant an army of tutus.

“The tutus had to be completely functioning,” Laura says. “The dancers had to dance in them, and Natalie had to be lifted while wearing them. So the most difficult part for us was wanting something to look extremely beautiful up close and also be very realistic.”

Laura says that she and Kate are “extremely proud” of achieving that dichotomy, and that the costumes “are definitely the most beautiful things we’ve ever made.”

More from Award Season Focus: The Women
The end of ‘Best Actress’? | Ladies propel Showtime | Rodarte feathers ‘Swan’ | Femmes top toon contenders
Fresh Faces: Cecile de France | Jennifer Lawrence | Shannon Woodward | Hailee Steinfeld

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content