Take Rodarte’s first sparkling foray into opera, add a stunning set by Frank Gehry, and voilà! A furiously modern and exciting twist on the Mozart classic.

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Rodarte's design duo put on a dazzling Don Giovanni at LA Philharmonic

LA opera-goers will surely be framing their tickets after witnessing the on-stage wizardry conjured by the über-trendy design duo behind the Rodarte couture label. The flaming hot Black Swan designers were tasked by architectural legend Frank Gehry with conjuring up costumes for the Los Angeles Philharmonic production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Presented on May 18–26 at the majestic Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by the great Gehry himself, the (literally) glittering cast was led by winsome Polish ‘barihunk’ Mariusz Kwiecien as Don Giovanni, under the baton of young and hip Venezuelan conductor du jour, Gustavo Dudamel.


To track down the right designers, Gehry sought advice from none other than high priestess of fashion, US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who gave the Mulleavy sisters top-dollar approval. The result? An eyepopping coupling of a surreal, futuristic set and arty, couture-like creations.

Known for their maverick approach and wildly theatrical influences, the sassy siblings went all out with Metropolis-like armor, rendered denim and strappy straitjackets, as well as complex beading and hand embroidery. Over 130,000 SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS – crystal pearls, sew‐on stones, beads and pendants – were used in six punkishly showstopping costumes. Not to mention the no-holds-barred headpieces and wigs for Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Zerlina. The twinkling embellishments added a flash of dangerous allure, perfectly reflecting the opera’s sizzling atmosphere and the rakish antics of the flamboyant seducer at the heart of the storyline.

Swarovski and Rodarte are, of course, well acquainted, having collaborated on Fashion Week and Atelier Swarovski collections. And how can we forget their beautiful feather-and-crystal confections for the corps de ballet in Black Swan, which brought Rodarte into the broader public gaze. Boasting armfuls of prestigious awards, the Mulleavy siblings have also garnered an army of achingly hip A-listers such as Cate Blanchett, Black Swan star Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Keira Knightley and Chloë Sevigny.

So, we’ve had runway classics, movie magic and now dazzling opera concoctions – is there nothing to which this divine twosome can’t turn their talented hands? Judging on current form, probably not, which means that we can look forward to more bold and brilliant projects yet to come.

Photographer: Autumn de Wilde

Swarovski Crystals Magazine #01 - Everyday Extraordinary

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