Three cities, two continents, two coasts, three days. So far this week, sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind Rodarte, have been in São Paulo (Monday), Los Angeles (Tuesday) and New York (Wednesday). By the time you’re reading this, they’ll be en route back home to L.A. They have trick-or-treaters to prep for. WWD caught up with them — on two separate phone calls — a few hours before Thursday’s Fashion Group International Night of Stars gala, where they were honored as “luminaries,” to talk about Halloween, not knowing what to wear and their recent guest-editing gig at A Magazine.
This story first appeared in the October 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WWD: What were you doing in Brazil?
Kate Mulleavy: We went to São Paulo and did a talk with Marie Claire about our creative process. It was really cool.
WWD: What were the highlights?
K.M.: I’d actually never been to Brazil. First we spent two days in Rio, which was really nice. And then we went to São Paulo afterwards. They’re both just beautiful places so it was really cool to be able to experience both cities. We went to this restaurant. It was the most amazing place I’d ever been. There was a giant — I can’t explain this fully — but there was a giant tree growing in the restaurant, and when I say giant, I mean really giant. The branches were like going out of the roof. They said it was a fig tree that was over 150 years old.
Laura Mulleavy: I think the highlight for me was seeing Oscar Niemeyer’s house. It was really cool because I’m a fan of architecture but I don’t know as much about it as I do art, for example. It was really interesting to see his work in the context of the place where it originated. To see the power of a modern home with the colors that he uses in this semitropical landscape — it was one of the most powerful things I’ve seen in a long time.
WWD: Then you returned to L.A. for one day, then came here for one day and then back to L.A. You must be exhausted.
K.M.: I’m tired but I was excited to go back to L.A. for a day just to, like, check in on my Halloween decorations.
L.M.: We’re having a Halloween party. We live in an area where there’s a lot of trick-or-treaters. Last year our favorite costume was a detention slip.
WWD: Are you dressing up?
K.M.: Yes. I don’t have a costume yet. I know, I’m kind of behind.
L.M.: I don’t know as what yet, which is kind of the conundrum. Someone asked me the other day, “Are you dressing up as Black Swan?” And I was like, “No, but I know how you can get one because they sell [the costumes] now.”
WWD: What about the Night of Stars gala? Is there anyone you’re excited to see or meet for the first time?
K.M.: I’m very much looking forward to meeting François Nars.
L.M.: It’s just a really nice night and I’m excited to see our friends in the industry and the people we work with.
WWD: What are you wearing?
L.M.: Um, something vintage, I think. I don’t know yet.
WWD: Do you ever design clothes for yourself?
L.M.: I have before when we go to the Met or something really big. It’s the hardest thing in the world to do for me, so I prefer not to. I think it’s more work than designing a wedding gown for someone. You know exactly what you want and then you can’t think of anything at all.
WWD: Tell me about A Magazine.
L.M.: So, we’re doing — it comes out in December — we’re guest-editing the next issue and it’s really beautiful. We did special pieces, like, special photography with David Armstrong. Then we did a portfolio with an art photographer called Bill Owens, who did a book called “Suburbia,” which was a huge influence on me and Kate for many different seasons. So it’s really exciting. We worked with different artists, like John Baldessari and then Jay DeFeo. So we have really amazing content that goes into the things that we’re interested in and then puts it together in a beautiful way.
WWD: What will the cover be?
L.M.: Well, it’s going to be announced soon, so I don’t think I can tell you. It’ll be a surprise. I think it’s going to be unexpected and kind of incredible.