Rodarte Sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy on Creating Designer Looks for ‘Sing 2’

Sing 2 Character and Costume Design
Courtesy of Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures

Animated films including Netflix’s “Over the Moon” have gone high fashion in the past few years, with computer-generated costumes created by notable fashion designers.

Sing 2,” now available on-demand, is the latest to recruit high-fashion names to outfit the CGI characters.

Rodarte sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy brought their designs to the film, the sequel to the 2016 animated jukebox musical. An addition to the cast of anthropomorphic animals is Clay Calloway, a lion voiced by U2’s Bono. Clay is a reclusive rock legend who is persuaded by koala Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) and porcupine Ash (Scarlett Johansson) to come out of retirement and perform onstage one more time.

Clay’s musical past is only alluded to in the film, so the design for his costumes needed to fill out his backstory as a timeless talent. “He was this incredible musician and songwriter, and so we were going to resurrect that stage persona,” Kate Mulleavy says.

Clay was given a monochromatic look with black boots and a black leather jacket.

Getting the details right for animation was just as important as it is for actual wardrobes. The sisters paid attention to stage-performance costumes. “We considered whether those boots were lace-up or if there was fringe, or whether they were studded,” says Kate Mulleavy. Adds Laura: “We went through so many different ideas. But we ended with something so effortlessly cool and pared back because that’s the heart and soul of him.”

Their love for rock ’n’ roll and knowledge of music icons helped inform how they needed to present Clay in the final act, as the characters go onstage to perform. Their influence? Johnny Cash, says Kate Mulleavy. “He’s someone we’re still talking about 50 or 60 years later.”