Sisters Kate and Laura Mallivi seek inspiration in horror movies, not in nature, the sea, the mountains, or the beauty of any princess or actress. They admire the pale faces of vampires and fearsome creatures dressed in ancient lace or velvet. While the combination of seductive vulnerability and intimidating power may sound scary, they later became the key to the sisters’ founder, Rodarte.
We present to the readers the success story of the brothers, who made the Rodarte brand famous worldwide in a short time.
Rodarte is an American luxury clothing brand. The brand was founded in 2005 by sisters Kate and Laura Mallivi. They stand behind the romantic brand that combines fashion and art.
Sisters Kate and Laura were born in California in 1980 and 1981. The sisters’ father is a botanist and their mother is an artist. The girls’ childhood passed among artists and scientists in forests and gardens. For this reason, the brand often prefers floral motifs in its collections. Since childhood, Kate and Laura dreamed of becoming designers, and Kate always sketched the stage costumes for her grandmother, who was an opera singer. Undoubtedly, the desire to create clothes came to her sisters from her grandmother and the artist’s mother. The girls’ favorite pastime was making clothes for dolls.
Kate and Laura have no professional training in fashion. Both sisters graduated from the University of California. Kate studied in the 19th and 20th century Faculty of Art History and Laura studied in the Department of Literature. By the way, Laura first entered the medical school, and realizing that she did not want to become a doctor, the girl transferred to the faculty of literature after the first semester. The girls return home after graduating from college, but none of them want to work in their field. I like designing more. Do you know what these girls do to make their dreams come true? They watch horror movies day and night for a year. While others enjoyed independent living, the sisters spent their days searching for horror movies. Meanwhile, it was the horror movie that inspired Katie to create new collections.
One day the brothers finally decide to make a new collection. Well, did they know how to sew clothes? Number! Two sisters start learning to sew, cut and adjust clothes at an old kitchen table. The sisters made 10 dresses with their own hands: 7 dresses and 3 coats. Kate and Laura admit they were inspired by Japanese thrillers to create the collection. On the eve of Fashion Week, the sisters travel to New York in 10 handmade dresses. But the Mallivi brothers, who had never been to New York, were not prepared for the brutal reality of the big city. The clothes almost fell into the hands of the thieves on the way, but luckily they got out of the situation for good.
When she arrived in New York she had to register as a company first, so Kate had to sell her rarest collection of rock bands her father had given her, and Laura had to sell an iPod. They call their brand “Rodarte” in honor of their mother’s maiden name. Then they visit New York’s biggest department stores to showcase their collections. The garments were also presented to the editors of all the world’s leading fashion magazines. They don’t know anyone from the fashion world, so Kate made paper dolls, dressed miniatures of the clothes in her collection and sent them to fashion magazines. Such a strange advertisement made noise.
It doesn’t take long for the results to come! The sisters from Women’s Wear Daily receive a call from store owner Solette Sarah Lefebvre that she’s giving you the opportunity to showcase your clothes at Haute Couture Fashion Week. The clothes are also featured on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily.
The sisters may also win the heart of Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of the American magazine Vogue, nicknamed the devil. Vintur personally advised them on the development of the brand and offered to present the collection at fashion week. But the show did not take place as there were only 10 models. Still, they managed to sell all the outfits. In an interview, Kate admitted that they didn’t even think they could sell her work.
Kate and Laura still don’t understand how they became famous in such a short time. “We could only pay the models for the chocolate,” Kate recalled with a laugh. But the simplicity of the sisters brings a special freshness to their work. Against the background of the collections of prestigious fashion houses, fantasy images are selected. Fashion critics say Rodarte turned a popular market trend into neo-romanticism. Mallives are often accused of being theatrical in their collections. Laura responds to the criticism: Not all brands should have to sew only wearables.
The fame of the two sisters from the provincial city of California soon spread to the fashion world. Pre-Raphaelite of the 18th century (Prerafaelites were a movement formed in English poetry in the second half of the 19th century and in the early 1850s to fight the conventions of academic tradition and blindly imitate classical models) Today, all world stars enjoy red carpet ceremonies .
Many Hollywood stars are in love with romantic women’s dresses. Michelle Obama is not indifferent to the glamor of Rodarte’s fashionable images. The main fan of the fashion house is Natalie Portman. The actor advised Darwin Aronofsky, the screenwriter of the Mullevi brothers movie “Black Swan”. Thus, thriller fans have managed to make their mark on the film industry themselves. All costumes for the movie were made by Rodarte. Descendants of the opera singer are also working on costumes for opera performances.
According to Kate, women are the most 14% of designers in the fashion industry today. She is proud that Rodarte was one of the first well-known women’s brands in 2005. Thanks to the solidarity of the sisters, the brand has succeeded. The Mallivi brothers are not playing by the rules of the fashion industry: they showcase 2 collections a year, not 4. They reshape femininity that allows women to show their creative potential rather than pleasing openness.
As for the prices of the company’s products, they can be classified as very expensive. This is not surprising as most of the examples are handmade. It takes about 150 hours to sew a dress and costs about $9,500. They now have a unique staff of craftsmen and artisans to manage large-scale businesses. Kate and Laura believe there are stereotypes against women designers today. “Our work is sometimes viewed as inferior to that of male designers, so it’s very important for us to have a say,” said the sisters, who didn’t hide their expectation of more support from women.