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Arts and Entertainment

L.A.'s Rodarte Designs Killer Costumes For 'Black Swan'

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black_swan_rodarte.jpg
(Photo via Fox Searchlight)


(Photo via Fox Searchlight)
By Lyndsey Saul / Special to LAistDarren Aronofsky's nine-year-old Grimm brainchild Black Swan is finally being released to the world on December 3. Brutal and beautiful, the film is a visually stunning journey of a not very pretty sight, the gory gorgeousness reaching its pinnacle with the ballet costumes -- particularly the glorious black swan costume -- designed by L.A.'s own Laura and Kate Mulleavy of the much celebrated line, Rodarte.

Although the Pasadena-based sisters heavily cite cinema as an influence in their designs -- Fall 2008 was a take on Japanese horror films and Spring 2009 was, among other things, a direct reference to Boris Karloff's portrayal of Frankenstein -- Black Swan will be their literal, big screen debut thanks to long time fan and friend Natalie Portman.

"Their clothes and collection around the time [we were prepping] were very balletic like—a lot of tulle and invisible lace. [Laura and Kate] are also huge horror movie fans—real horror movie connoisseurs. The two components, to me, made the perfect pairing," said Portman to Variety.

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(Kate and Laura Mulleavy)
After meeting Aronofsky and finding their visions to be in sync, the Mulleavy’s took on learning the art of constructing a tutu. Thirteen layers of tulle and all. The challenge being that it not only needed to look stunning on screen but also had to be functional, since Portman needed to be able to dance and be lifted in it.The film explores the dark side of the ballet world, where the dancers look effortless on the surface, while concealing sprained ankles and bleeding toes beneath their tights and tutus. We follow Natalie Portman's Nina, the New York Ballet's newly appointed Prima, as she pirouettes her way from prim to primal, her mind unraveling on the way.

Despite the logistics, Laura told New York magazine that “It was one of the most exciting things for us to do because the end project was breathtaking.”

The sentiment is definitely mutual, as Oscar buzz is already in the air and Rodarte carries on its do-no-wrong streak.