Rodarte fashion designers no-shows at Michelle Obama's White House luncheon
You're a hot fashion duo invited to the White House for lunch with Michelle Obama. Do you:
(a) Thank the first lady for showcasing American designers to the world?
(b) Arrive wearing a wacky non-Washington ensemble?
(c) Blow off the lunch and stand up Obama?
If you answered (c), you know something about Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sister act behind L.A. fashion label Rodarte.
The Mulleavy team was expected at Wednesday's White House luncheon for the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards. The awards are a big deal because fashion is treated with the same respect as more serious disciplines such as architecture and interior design. The winners were announced in advance: Rodarte took the 2010 top honors for fashion.
The label has had a meteoric rise: The sisters, who have no formal training, took their first tiny collection to New York just five years ago. Their expensive, arty clothes were an instant hit with fashion insiders; two years ago they were honored by the Council of Fashion Designers of America as best up-and-comers; last year they won the CFDA's top prize for women's wear -- fashion's equivalent of an Oscar, reports our colleague Robin Givhan.
They also nabbed deals with the Gap and Target and a fan in Obama, who has worn two of their dresses: a stunning pumpkin cocktail dress in Copenhagen, a taupe day dress while meeting with Jordan's Queen Rania.
The sisters -- known as shy and eccentric -- were confirmed for Wednesday's luncheon, then backed out at the last minute with a vague explanation about change of plans and a "family obligation to attend to in L.A."
Obama -- who sat next to "Project Runway's" Tim Gunn at the East Room lunch -- did not mention Rodarte during her speech.
"It is a pleasure to be here today as we honor some of our country's most talented, most visionary, most public-minded designers -- folks whose work has literally changed the way we look at the world and how we live our daily lives," she told the crowd. "Our honorees today come from a wide variety of disciplines and fields, from architecture and landscape, to product design, interior design and much more."
The first lady's outfit? A hot-pink two-piece by Isabel Toledo. 'Nuf said.
The Reliable Source
July 26, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
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