5 Fashionable Questions

BY Kristen Schott | November 9, 2018 | Feature Features

Rodarte guest curator Jill D'Alessandro dresses up the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Rodarte, fall/winter 2008 backstage

DC’s fashion and arts world raised the bar last week with the opening of the Rodarte show at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Founders Laura and Kate Mulleavy, who chicly came on the scene in 2005, are the first designers to be recognized with a solo exhibition organized by the venue. The show surveys the label’s style since its inception and highlights nearly 100 complete looks, presented as they were on the runway, along with backstage images and costumes. It's all curated by guest curator Jill D’Alessandro, curator in charge of costume and textile arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Here, her stylish input. Tickets $10 for nonmembers, memberships $50-$25,000, 1250 New York Ave. NW, 202.783.5000

1. When you compare fashion in 2005 to now, how and why do you think Rodarte opened new doors for the industry in terms of contemporary art and style?
Throughout fashion history, there have always been individuals who have been considered as much artists as fashion designers—Madame Gres for example. As contemporary designers, what is so unique about Rodarte is the conceptual approach to fashion design, which incorporates the use of storytelling to convey complex thoughts that are informed by a wide range of subjects such as film, literature, art history and nature. The designers have also drawn critical acclaim from both the fashion and art worlds for their use of unconventional methods and materials that fused dressmaking and art-making processes. It only seems fitting that their first major survey would be hosted by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, who have been a champion for women artists since 1981.

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