From the Runway to the Screen, Rodarte Channels the Intoxication of California

The Mulleavy sisters’ first film debuted in September.

Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, co-designers behind the fashion label Rodarte, are both UC Berkeley graduates who grew up in Aptos, California. Inspired by the West Coast, the pair has consistently credited their upbringing to their creative themes, particularly as related to the American landscape.

The label “Rodarte” is the original Spanish pronunciation and spelling of their mother’s maiden name: Rodart. After their initial collection of just 10 pieces, the Mulleavys appeared on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily and had a meeting with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Their work has received numerous fashion awards and been featured in exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, amongst others.

Woodshock, their film directorial debut, stars Kirsten Dunst as a haunted young woman who spirals into confusion and chaos after she falls under the spell of a potent, reality-altering drug.

According to a story in California Sunday, “Their mother, an artist and film buff, instilled in them a love of movies, showing her daughters the complete Hitchcock oeuvre before they were 10 (her favorite is Vertigo, which includes a disorienting scene in the redwoods). Their father is a mycologist, whose expertise includes morels and fairy-tale mushrooms—the cartoonish ones with white-dotted red caps. ‘It’s the most beautiful mushroom on the planet,’ Laura says—and, she adds, one of the most poisonous. The toxins can cause hallucinations.

“’That’s where our interests lie,’ Kate says. ‘I think there’s duality to everything. Humanity is capable of such beautiful things. But it’s also capable of such massive amounts of destruction.’”

You can read more about the film’s creation and the sisters’ California connection here.