Pasadena designers behind Rodarte created scene-setting costumes for ‘Black Swan’

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If you’re paying even a modicum of attention to the Hollywood awards season, you may have heard of a little film called “Black Swan.” Actress Natalie Portman is knee-deep in praise and various honorary statuettes for her lead performance in the movie. 
Pasadena sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy — the design forces behind Rodarte —  have also received many accolades for producing some of the film’s most notable costume designs.
At left, that’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy with Portman at a “Black Swan” screening in November.
They created 40 different costume pieces for “Black Swan,” from the main character’s featured ensembles down to her knitwear. (The Mulleavys were ineligible for a formal Oscar nod, because they weren’t credited in the film and weren’t members of the Costume Designers Guild at the time.)
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Laura Mulleavy said in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily that one artistic influence was Edgar Degas’ bronze ballerina.
“We always loved the distressed skirt,” she told WWD.
And, Pasadenans can get a firsthand view of the Degas sculpture, “Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen,” 1878-81, on display at the Norton Simon Museum. (Seen at right, in a file photo courtesy of the museum.)
It’s not the first time the sisters have drawn inspiration from local museums and culture. They have before cited such iconic Pasadena institutions as the Norton Simon, The Huntington and even The Raymond as personal favorites.
See some of the Mulleavys’ “Black Swan” sketches after the jump:


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Four Edgar Degas works go on display at Norton Simon in Pasadena

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Four Edgar Degas works that have not been on view in nearly six years are now on display at the Norton Simon Museum, the arts institution’s officials said.

The works, two charcoal drawings and two landscapes, went on view today in the museum’s 19th century wing, said spokeswoman Leslie Denk.

Pictured here, at top right, is “Dancer (Battement in Second Position),” 1874, a charcoal and chalk work that was a study for “The Rehearsal.”

At bottom right is “Olive Trees against a Mountainous Background,” c. 1890-1892. The Norton Simon Web site notes that Degas is seldom remembered as a landscapist.

You can interact with both these works, and the other two newly displayed pieces, on the Norton Simon site:

But, more importantly, get thee to the Norton Simon and experience them firsthand.

Hours: Mon., Wed.-Thurs., Sat.-Sun. noon to 6 p.m.; closed Tues.; Fri. noon to 9 p.m.

(Photos courtesy Norton Simon Museum)